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Printed by Suail O. BhaUacharya, M.A., at the Inland Printing 
Works, 60-3, Dharamtala Street, Calcutta. 


Oudh deserves a special place in the history of the establish- 
ment of British dominion in India. It was after the acquisition 
of Bengal and Bihar that the East India Company for the first 
time took any serious interest in Oudh, first as a strong buffer bet- 
ween its dominions and the Mahrattas, the most serious rivals of 
the British in Northern India, and later as a fruitful source of in- 
come at a time when the financial position of the Company was 
far from comfortable. Oudh was also one of the most impor- 
tant recruiting grounds for the army in India. These considera- 
tions led Warren Hastings, and WeUesley and, to a lesser extent, 
Cornwallis to interfere in the affairs of Oudh despite the general 
policy of non-interference laid down by the Court of Directors 
and made into law by Pitt's India Act. The actions of Hastings 
and WeUesley aroused, as is so well known, considerable con- 
troversy at the time, and the passions let loose thereby led to 
much partisan pamphleteering which, though interesting, never- 
theless, clouded the real issue. 

No attempt was made until recently to write an impartial 
history of the relations of Oudh with the British, though the 
sources of our information are prolific. In the current text 
books on Indian history the compilers have mostly followed 
each his own favourite school not always caring to check 
up their facts. The first serious attempt in this direction 
was made by Dr. Ashirbadi Lai Srivastava whose book, The 
First Two Nawabs of Oudh, has recently been followed by a 
monograph on Shujauddaula, the third and the last great ruler 
of Oudh. Dr. C. Collin Davies of Oxford has followed up with 
his Warren Hastings and Oudh. I have picked up the thread 
where Dr. Davies leaves it and carried the narrative down to 1801 
when practically half of Oudh was ceded to the Company by 
Nawab Sa'adat Ali. Unfortunately for me I could not make use 
of the fruits of Dr. Davies' research (as his book was not publi- 
shed until two years after I had completed my thesis) which 
would have made my work very much easier. 

The story I have narrated is one of decline, which wa$ a 
source of delight to the utterly unscrupulous governor-general 
Macpherson, of despair to the more honest Cornwallis, and 
provided Wellesley with a fitting stage on which to play his role 
of a great pro-consul. The conclusion I have arrived at is that 
the fate of Oudh was inevitable, that it was the natural outcome 
of a despotic system of government in which the people had 
neither any share nor interest. Parallels of this are not rare 
either in India or elsewhere. 

It would naturally be idle to say that I have consulted att 
the possible sources, but I may claim that all material sources, 
both published and unpublished, have been made use of. A 
select bibliography is given at the end of the book. The book 
is based on a thesis approved in June 1938 for the degree of 
Ph.D. of the University of London. I take this opportunity of 
acknowledging my debt of gratitude to Prof. H. H. Dodwdl who 
brought home to me the importance of the subject and who 
guided me throughout my work. My thanks are also due to Prof. 
V. Minorski who helped me in interpreting a number of Persian 
texts; to Dr. C. C. Davies for several valuable suggestions; to 
(the late) Sir E. Denison Ross for his help in tracing some of the 
Persian sources ; to the staff of the India Office, the British 
Museum and the Public Record Office in London ; to my friend 
Dr. D. N. Majutndar of Lucknow University, and to the Director 
of the Inland Printing Works, Calcutta, without whose help it 
would not have been possible to bring out the book even as late 
as now. My wife has rendered invaluable assistance in prepa- 
ring the manuscript for the press and reading the proofs. 

Finally, a word about the system of spelling and abbrevia- 
tions used. I have not burdened the text with phonetic signs 
and symbols as I expect that readers of the following pages 
would be more or less familiar with the names which occur 
therein. The abbreviations used in the footnotes should ordi- 
narily be easily understood. Where reference has been made 
to a letter or minute without mentioning the record in which it 
occurs, or the date or the year, the name of the record, date or 
year is the same as in the immediately preceding reference. 


June, 1943. 



The Nawab Mukhtaruddaula Ilich Khan Almas ' -' 
All Khan Hasan Baza Khan Haidar Beg Khan- 
Raja Tikait Rai Raja Jhao Lai Tafazzul Husain 

II OUDH AND ITS NEIGHBOURS . . . . . . 26-75 

(i) SINDHIA Influence with the Emperor Effect of 
Alliance with Company Fall of Agra Aligarh 
Frontier Forts Alliance with Sikhs Fugitive Prob- 
lem the Gosain Brothers : Himmat Bahadur and 
Umrao Gir Pilgrim Taxes the Emperor Rajput 
Chiefs Death of Mahadji Daulat Rao (ft) SIKH 
SCABB conflicting views Forster's letters (Hi) Ghu- 
lam Qadir Khan (iv) AFGHAN BOGEY Timur Shah 
Advance on Kashmir 1785 Defeated the Sikhs 
1792 Death of Timur Shah Zaman Shah His 
Empire and Character Shore's View Sir Alured 
Clarke's View (v) RAMPUB Treaty of Lai Dang 
1774 Dispute with Oudh over Almora Nawab's 
March towards Rampur Reconciliation with Faizul- 
lah Khan Death of Faizullah Revolution in 
Rampur Nawab's Attitude Battle of Katra 
Treaty of 1794 


Nawabi Army Limitations Imposed by Treaty of 
1768 Shujauddaula Accepts Company's Military 
Aid End of Sovereignty Asafuddaula's Neglect 
The Military organisation Malversation by the 
Amils Cornwallis's Strictures Cherry's Report 
Abercrombie's Report Question of Reform Effect 
of Non-intervention Cherry's Plan Nawab's Apa- 
thyShore's Attitude Cherry Recalled Growing 
Hold of Company Position in 1794 Order of Court 
of Directors Treaty of 1798 

IV BANKRUPTCY OF OUDH * . . . 100-133 

Revenues of the State Land Revenue Methods of 
Collection Various Estimates Farrukhabad Tribute 
Customs Duties Road and Pilgrim Taxes Cor- 
ruption in Administration Charges on Revenue- 
Military Establishment Pensions and Wages 
Nawab's Extravagance Efforts to Check Nawab's 
Debts Company's Subsidy Rapid Increase of Cur- 
rent Dues and Arrears Hastings^ Attempt at Relief 
Macpherson's Irregularities Cornwallis's Sjettle- 
ment with Oudh Breakdown Cherry's View 
Company's Financial Position Shore's Efforts to 
Realise More from Oudh Arrangement of April 
1797 Shore's Settlement with Sa'adat Ali 


COMPANY .. .. .. .. 134-140 

Articles of Trade Barlow's Reportr-Trade in Cloth 
Exemption from Duties Cornwallis's View Com- 
mercial Treaty A Dead Letter 

VI GENERAL ADMINISTRATION . . . . . . 141-156 

Military Despotism Sarkar's Functions Company's 
Interest Ministers' Position Cornwallis's Efforts 
at Reform Obstacles to Reforms Cherry's Efforts 
Shore's Suggestions Nawab's Plan Cherry's 
Plan Nawab's Displeasure Shore's Disapproval- 
Cherry Dismissed Continued Chaos 


Wazir Ali Becomes Nawab Acceptance by Oudh and 
Calcutta Paternity of Wazir Ali Shore Orders 
Inquiry Sa'adat's Claim Shore Decides in Favour 
of Wazir Changes his Mind Journey to Lucknow 
New Findings Reasons for Deposing Wazir 
Sa'adat's Accession 

VIII SA'ADAT AM AND WELLESLEY . . . . . . 167-208 

Sa'adat's Antecedents Plot Against Asaf Retires 
to Benares The Man Sa'adat vs. Wellesley Wel- 
lesley's Official Defence Wellesley's Attitude 
Military Problem Revival of Afghan Scare Ex- 
ploitation of the Scare by Wellesley Demand of 
Army Reform in Oudh State of Nawabi Army 
Sa'adat's Difficulties Wellesley's Apathy Wel- 
lesley's Proposed Reforms Lumsden Resigns Scott 
Appointed Resident Sa'adat's Non-Acceptance of 
Wellesley's Plan Wellesley's Indignation Sa'adat 
offers to Abdicate Wellesley's Qualified Approval 
His 'Grand Object' Draft Treaty Rejection by 
Sa'adat Scott's Memorial Wellesley's Reactions to 
Sa'adat's Letter Nawab's New Proposal His Bitter- 
nessScott's Reply Wellesley's Ultimatum to 
Nawab Sa'adat's Final Efforts Wellesley's Army 
Reform Effected His Attitude Sa'adat's Justifica- 
tion Fresh Troubles Financial Difficulties of Nawab 
Wellesley and Scott's Interpretation of Nawab's 
Intention Efforts to Secure Sa'adat's Abdication 
Sa'adat's Refusal Cession of Territory Demanded 
Henry Wellesley Sent to Lucknow Sa'adat's Last 
Efforts Capitulation Treaty of 1801 Wellesley's 
Point of View and Sa'adat's 

APPENDICES . . . . . . . . 209-219 

Charges on Oudh Revenue Nawab's Private Expen- 
ses Allowances Paid by Nawab to Company's Ser- 
vant's -Revised List and Salaries of Above Finan- 
cial Settlement 1785-6 Revised Claims of Company 
Additional Claims Private Claims Salaries of Com- 
pany's Servants in Oudh Arrears due to Company 




THE GOVERNMENT of Oudh under its nawabs had been, 
like that of the other Indian states of the time, a 
military despotism. The success or failure of the 
government and the prosperity of the subjects depended 
almost entirely on the vigilance of the ruler and the 
ability and honesty of the men appointed by him for the 
management of the affairs of the country. Nawab 
Asafuddaula who ruled Oudh up to 1797, was unfitted to 
shoulder such heavy responsibility and, in consequence, 
the administration of the state suffered under him. He 
was served by undoubtedly competent men, men who 
working under Safdar Jung or Shujauddaula, Asafuddaula 's 
predecessors, would have made a much better job of 
their work. Asafuddaula became nawab at the age of 26, 
on the death of his father, Shujauddaula, on 28 January 
1775 l . The young nawab was somewhat uncouth 
of appearance and combined in him a love of pleasure, 
generosity, shrewdness, vanity and inertia, qualities not 
uncommon in the rulers of decadent states in India and 
elsewhere. A contemporary chronicler describes the person 
of Asafuddaula as follows: 3 

His features bore a general resemblance to his father's. The 
upper part of his body was rather long, but the lower part from 
waist downwards was very short. From his childhood he was 
obese ; his fat ears, neck and double chin were one fleshy mass. 
His fingers and palm were short and plump. From his boyhood 
he was addicted to frivolities and his natural inclinations and 
attachments were for low, ill-born and base-minded associates. 
He used to laugh unseasonably, fling derisive abuse at others 
and desire derisive abuse in return. He delighted in meaningless 
amusements and was immensely pleased with anyone who 
indulged in filthy language; and the more obscene the conversation 
was in any company the better he was pleased. 

John Bristow, Resident in Oudh when Asafuddaula 
ascended the masnad, wrote of him, 3 

1 Faiz Bakhsh, Tarikh-i-FaraMakhsh (Tr. by W. Hoey) 12. 

2 ibid 16-18. 

3 B.3.C. 26 Feb. 1776, Bristow to Board, 12 Feb, 

His Excellency is juvenile in his amusements, volatile, injudi- 
cious in the choice of his confidants, and so familiar in his 
conversation as to throw aside the sovereign and admit his 
favourites to a freedom destructive to all subordination and a 
cause for the inattention paid by them to his commands. He 
frequently passes whole days in dissipation and is of late much 
given to liquor, for I have known him to make himself and 
his favourites and even his menial servants indecently 
drunk. By this mode of passing his time he can have little 
leisure for business and indeed he hardly attends to any excepting 
when I wait upon him on the Company's affairs, and then I 
am generally referred to his minister, to whom and other favour- 
ites he confides the entire charge of this government. 

Shujauddaula had made all possible effort to make his 
eldest son and heir-apparent in every way a worthy 
successor to himself. The best of tutors were engaged to 
impart princely qualities to Asafuddaula, but all that 
he added to his native generosity was skill in archery. 
Of his generosity tales are still heard in Lucknow and 
elsewhere in Oudh, and shopkeepers in Lucknow even 
today open their shops with his name on their lips. 
Perhaps some vanity was mixed with his generosity, and 
many a foreign adventurer made fortunes by playing 
upon this trait of his character. He readily bought from 
them worthless tinsels for lakhs of rupees and when 
reprimanded by his ministers, confessed that he did 
so with his eyes open, but how could he refuse one who 
had taken the trouble of travelling all the way to Oudh 
having heard of his generosity ! 

When of marriageable age, Asafuddaula was married 
to the daughter of Imtiazuddaula, a nobleman who 
wielded considerable influence in the Court of the Emperor 
at Delhi. But the nawab was an invert and the marriage 
never seems to have been consummated 4 . Towards the 
beginning of Asafuddaula 's rule, men of learning and 

4 The testimony of Faiz Bakhsh and Bristow might have been dismissed as 
exaggerated, as it has been the tendency of one school to do, on the ground 
that they belonged to a hostile group of critics. Bristow is known to have 
aspired to wield unfettered authority in Oudh, for which he was recalled by 
Warren Hastings, and it was in his interest to present the nawab in the worst 
possible light. Faiz Bakhsh was patronized by the "Begama of Oudh", 
Asafuddaula's mother and grandmother, who were not well-disposed towards 
the nawab. But there is overwhelming evidence corroborating these critics. 
See especially Kamaluddin Haidar, Sanxmihat-i-SaJatin-i-Awadh f. 25; 
Ghulam Ali, Imad-us-Sa'adat 137 ; Abu Talib, Tafzih*ul-Qhafilin (Tr. by 
W. Hoey) 37-9, 46-50, 91-4, 98-106, 115. 

art avoided I^ucknow because Asafuddaula "had* no 
regard for such people/' 5 and gathered round the Begams 
and their eunuchs' Court at Fyzabad, but later on 
Asafuddaula took greater interest in such people and 
induced most of them to attach themselves to his Court 
at I/ucknow 6 . 

Faiz Bakhsh makes repeated references to the nawab's 
indifference to civil and military affairs and to his lack 
of ambition. Shujauddaula died in the month of Shaban. 
Four months after came the Muharram celebrations and 
taziadari was observed by Asafuddaula at Fyzabad. 
After that 

he spent four or five months on the banks of the Ghagra in the 
sand and dust without any reason, and he did not evince the 
slightest inclination to undertake the discipline of the troops or civil 
administration, to know the leading military officers or inspect 
the manoeuvres of the regiments, to examine the ammunition 
and equipment of tho artillery or hear the items of negligence 
in reports. In all these Shujauddaula had been unremittingly 
employed. 7 

Asafuddaula left the entire work of administration in 
the hands of Mukhtaruddaula. In 1776 there occurred 
a serious mutiny among the nawab's regulars at Fyzabad, 
and although the nawab's and the English intelligencers 
had dispatched to the sarkar full accounts of the outrages 
and disturbances during two days and nights, the nawab 
was so indifferent to public affairs that he remained 
uninformed 8 . After Mukhtaruddaula 's death, Asafuddaula 
found a new minister in the person of Haidar Beg Khan 
in whose hands he left all power and authority. Faiz 
Bakhsh tells of an amusing incident which brings out 
the difference between Asafuddaula and his father. 
Referring to Asafuddaula's practice of annually visiting 
the hill resort of Bitul, he says, 9 

Shujauddaula. . .had once proposed to go to the foot of the hills. 
The people of the hills, knowing that he was an intrepid soldier 
and had an army and artillery, and fearing that he might 
become acquainted with the mountain paths and annex their 
country, became greatly alarmed, and they opened an embank- 
ment which confined the water in a certain place, and let it flow, 
so that his tents could not be pitched. He turned back quickly. 
The mountaineers, however, knew that Asafuddaula did not 
trouble himself about his dominions, that he had readily given 

5 Faiz Bakhsh op. cit. 229. 6 ibid 231. 7 ibid 22. 8 ibid 36. 9 ibid 232. 

up Benares, a rich province [to the British], and this was a gauge 
of his greed for territory, so they freely allowed him access. 

Critical throughout, Faiz Bakhsh pays a somewhat grudg- 
ing tribute to Asafuddaula's generosity, and while dealing 
with his last days, makes references to his supernatural 
wisdom 10 , probably more by way of making amends. 
Mir Ghulam Ali, the author of Imad-us-Sa'adat, on the 
whole agrees with Faiz Bakhsh, but goes somewhat out 
of his way to justify Asafuddaula. He says that the 
nawab delegated his powers to the ministers because, in 
the first place, his heart was so full of the desire to do 
good that he did not wish to be distracted by the cares 
of the state ; and, in the second place, he was too kind- 
hearted to be able to harden himself to the extent 
necessary for carrying out the work of government n . 
Ghulam Ali mentions Asafuddaula's early fondness for 
wines which he later gave up in faVour first of 'bhang* 
(hemp, haschish) and towards the end of his life, opium. 
One of his many acts of generosity was the digging of a 
canal known as Nahar-i-Asafi in Najaf Ashraf, where the 
prophet Ali's tomb is, at a cost of about 7 lakhs of 
rupees 13 . The Imambara in Lucknow built by Asafud- 
daula is popularly known to be a relief work when in 
1198 A.H. (1783-84) a famine had overrun Oudh. It 
is said that anyone assisting in the building was fed for 
the day, and that every night the nawab had the day's 
construction partly pulled down lest the building should be 
finished too soon. Of this, however, there seems to be no 
reliable evidence, and it also sounds unlikely that an enthu- 
siastic builder like Asafuddaula should have wasted 
labour in that way instead of employing it in constructing 
other buildings. For he had one great desire, to have in 
Lucknow the replica of every famous building in the world. 
The Rumi Darwaza was built after, as he wrongly sup- 
posed, one of the gates of Constantinople, and a bridge over 
the Gumti was built in imitation of a bridge across the 
Seine in Paris. It is said that having once heard that 
Fort William was the best building in Calcutta, Asafuddaula 
immediately issued orders to have a Fort William built in 

10 ibid 257. 11 Ghulam Ali, op.,cit. 135, 157. 12 ibid 158. 

Lucknow and was stopped only after the greatest efforts of 
the Calcutta government. Many foreign travellers have 
spoken highly of the buildings of Asafuddaula, and Lord 
Valentia 13 mentions especially two, the Imambara and the 
mosque attached to it, two really magnificent edifices, with 
which should be mentioned the Bawli Palace said to have 
been built according to the nawab's own specifications 14 . 

Asaf 's love of collection of both animals and inanimate 
objects proved later on to be a curse for him. His 
menagerie consisted of 1,200 elephants and 3,000 fine 
saddle horses which he never rode, and various other 
animals which were kept and fed at an enormous cost. 
His museum of curios has been described by one Lewis 
Ferdinand Smith who evidently was in the nawab's employ, 
and by Lord Valentia 15 . Principal items in his collection 
were clocks, guns, lustres and mirrors of various kinds. 
Some of these lustres and mirrors can still be seen in the 
Imambara Asafuddaula, but what happened to the other 
articles in the nawab's museum is not definitely known. 
His inordinate passion for collection made him the dupe 
of adventurers, European and Indian, who sold him worth- 
less things for fabulous sums of money. When Haidar 
Beg Khan, the nawab's minister, had an interview 
with Lord Cornwallis, one of his complaints was about the 
nawab's extravagance. He said that lakhs of rupees were 
spent on entertaining Englishmen at dinners and illumina- 
tions and showing them the spring celebrations like Holi, 
etc.; and again, English merchants who brought all kinds 
of goods from England, would tell the nawab that they 
had come all the way simply for his sake, and Asafuddaula 
would buy all they had irrespective of the exorbitant prices 
asked 16 . 

Ghulam Hussein in Seir-ul-Mutakhirin gives some 
unsavoury details of the nawab's dissipations. All these 

13 Lord Valentia, Travels I 15ti. 

14 Ghulam All op. cit. 158. For a full list of Asafuddaula's buildings see 
Inam All, Ausaf-ul-Avaf, and Asiatic Annual Register Vols. II and III. 

15 Asiatic Annual Register Vol. VI (1804) ; Valentia op. cit. 156. 

16 Kamaluddin Haidar op. cit. f. 26. 

factg, or most of them, are borne out by the letters of the 
governors-general and the Residents in Oudh, to be found 
recorded in the Political and Secret Consultations of the 
Council at Calcutta for the period 17 . George Frederick 
Cherry, Resident at I^ucknow (1794-96), however, did not 
think that Asaf uddaula was quite such an imbecile as he 
was generally taken to be 18 . The nawab died of dropsy on 
21 September 1797 (28 Rabi I, 1212 A.H.) at the age of 
51. It is said that the dismissal of his favourite minister 
Raja Jhao Lai by Sir John Shore early that year had made 
him despondent of life and he refused all medicines 
and precautions 1 g . 

Of the members of Asafuddaula's Court, first should be 
mentioned Mukhtaruddaula Murtaza Khan. Disliked by 
Shujauddaula, he had woji the confidence of the heir-appa- 
rent who, immediately on his accession to the masnad, 
appointed him his chief minister. But he was very unpopu- 
lar and was murdered on 7 Safar 1190 A.H. (March 1776) ao . 
During his short term of office disintegration and disorder 
set in both in the civil and military administration of the 
state 21 . He first disbanded a good portion of Shujaud- 
daula's efficient army, dismissed competent officers, and 
appointed his own relatives to various high offices of the 
state. He "upset in one year the system of government 
which Shujauddaula had spent ten years in forming" 22 . 

After Mukhtaruddaula's death, Muhammad Ilich Khan 
was appointed minister, but he died a natural death after 
little over six months 2 **. The nawab's choice for a minister 

17 See especially B.S.C. 1 Oct. 1789 Cornwallis to Ives 6 Oct; Cornwallis 
to nawab-wazir 6 Oct ; B.S.C. 30 Oct. 1789 Johnstorie to Cornwallis 
16 Oct.; Ross, Cornwallis Correspondence I 256-8 Cornwallis to Dimdas 
16 Feb. 1787. B.S.C. 20 Apr. 1787 governor-general's minute. 

18 B.P.C. 17 Apr. 1795 Cherry to Shore 6 Apr.; B.P.G. 1 Aui$. 1795 Cherry 
to Shore 21 July. 

19 Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 158 ; Faiz Bakhsh, op. cit. 255-6 ; Rai Ratan Chand, 
Sutian-ut-Tawarikh f. 215-16 ; Kamaluddin Haidar op. cit. f. 27 verso. 

20 Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 130 ; Abu Talib, op cit 19-23 ; Kamaluddin Haidar, 
op. cit. f. 22. 

21 Faiz Bakhsh, op. cit. 21-3. 

22 ibid 83. See also Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 121-130 ; Kamaluddin Haidar, 
op. cit. f. 22-3. 

23 Faiz Bakhsh, op. cit. 83. 

then fell upon Almas All Khan, perhaps the most remark- 
able man in the nawab's durbar. He was the son of a Jat 
cultivator from a village near Hoshiarpur, and a eunuch 
from birth 2 *. Originally a slave of Bani Khanam Sahiba, 
a step-mother of Shujauddaula, he formed part of Bahu 
Begam's (Asafuddaula's mother) dowry. Unfortunately the 
very pre-eminence of Almas makes Faiz Bakhsh dismiss 
him with this laconic remark : "His history is too well 
known to need mention/' The author of Imad-us-Sa'adat 
says that Almas was famous for his charity and kindness, 
and that early in his life he had had to put up with the 
greatest hardships. 

Almas was a man of great ability and intelligence, 
and Bahu Begam soon appointed him to manage her 
estates in Gonda and Fyzabad which Shujauddaula had 
given her, and in this position Almas won the Begam's 
entire confidence. Asafuddaula called him 'mamu' 
(maternal uncle) and as soon as he became nawab, 
entrusted to him the management of considerable territory 
including the rich and strategic Rohilkhand and a large 
portion of the Doab. Almas founded a town called 
Miangunj, now in Unao district, which he made his 
headquarters. Sir Robert Montgomery in his report on 
Cawnpore (June 1848), following a contemporary report 
of Welland 25 , first collector of Cawnpore, says that the 
revenues of the country were anticipated, the tenures 
by which the amils and farmers held their possessions 
were most precarious, and the misery of the lower classes, 
excluded from all protection, was excessive 36 , that there 
existed between the nawab's government and the head 
renters a total want of principle and good faith, and, in 

24 C. A. Elliot, Chronicles of Oonao i24. 

25 Welland to Henry Wellesley, 31 May 1803 : " The policy of the 
nawab-wazir, and of Meer Ulmas Ally Khan, was to levy and collect by 
every means practicable, all they could, and at the commencement of 
each season of cultivation, they granted supplies for carrying it on ; 
even the subsistence, food, raiment and dwelling of the inhabitants 
were mostly regulated and paid for from the funds furnished by the 
government." (Quoted by Montgomery, Statistical Report on the district 
of Caivnpore, 1848, 3-4.) 

26 Montgomery, op. cit. 3. 

consequence, the under-farmers were changed and their 
terms altered three or four times a year. He writes : 27 

The security of the lives and property of the inhabitants can 
scarcely be supposed to have formed any part of the considera- 
tion of the government, and would have been inconsistent with 
the general oppression which prevailed through all gradations 
of the people. 

But Sir Charles Alfred Elliott, author of Chronicles of 
Oonao, points out that the system of farming out contracts 
for rent in any considerable scale was inaugurated by 
Sa'adat Ali who became nawab in January 1798. 

Elliott divides the history of the province into three 
distinct periods. In the first, i.e. under the Delhi rule, 
there was little supervision and little check on the amils 
who plundered the farmers at will. In the third period, 
i.e. under the later contract system, the Oudh sarkar 
drove the amils to plunder the tenants in order to realise 
what they had contracted to pay into the treasury. But 
under the earlier nawabs (Sa'adat Khan, Safdar Jung and 
Shujauddaula) no screw was put upon the amils forcing 
them to screw the tenants in turn, and the supervision 
by the central authority was constantly felt. This super- 
vision relaxed under Asafuddaula, but Almas kept up 
the tradition. Sir William Sleeman speaks very highly 
of him. He writes: 28 

Meean Almas was the greatest and the best man of any note 
that Oudh has produced. He held for about 40 years. . . districts 
yielding to the Oudh government an annual revenue of about 
80 lakhs of rupees. During all this time he kept the people 
secure in life and property, and as happy as people in such a 
state of society can be; and the whole country under his charge 
was, during his lifetime, a garden. His immense income he had 
expended in useful works, liberal hospitality, and charity. He 
systematically kept in check the tallookdars or great landholders, 
fostered the smaller and encouraged and protected the better 
class of cultivators, such as Lodhies (lodhs?), Koormies, and 
Kachies, whom he called and considered his children. His reign 
over the large extent of country under his jurisdiction is 
considered to have been its golden age. 

Lord Valentia who in the course of his travels arrived 
at Lucknow on 21 March 1803, and attended the nawab's 
durbar on 23 March, writes that he met Almas, but he 

27 ibid 4. 

28 Sir W. H. Sleeman, A Journey through Oudh I 320-22. 


apparently confuses him with one of the eunuchs of the 
Begams who had been plundered by Asafuddaula 29 . 

Almas was more feared than loved by his master and 
his ministers, and from time to time the durbar was swept 
by a panic that the great amil was conspiring against the 
nawab. Such a case arose in January 1785 when Haidar 
Beg Khan, then minister, requested the Resident, Maj. 
William Palmer, to move a British regiment from Cawnpore 
to lyucknow as a measure of protection against Almas 30 . 
Palmer persuaded Almas to come to Lucknow in order to 
demonstrate his good faith, and Almas readily complied 31 . 
The Resident wrote to the governor-general: 132 

Whilst he was with me, I found means to ascertain his real 
disposition and intentions, which I have the satisfaction to 
assure you are entirely dutiful towards his master, and full of 
con6dcnce in and attachment to the Company's government. 


Almas Ali Khan has been made too powerful and opulent for 
a subject, and certainly would be too much for the Vizier's 
government, if ho was not restrained by its connection with 
ours. But as matters are now circumstanced his defection would 
be attended with many ill consequences, and it cannot be 
denied that this opulence is productive of some good ones. His 
punctuality in payment may be relied on, and he frequently 
assists government with the advance of very considerable sums 
in its exigencies. We know that he can nowhere obtain such 
a degree of security for his person and property as he finds in 
his present situation ; it must therefore be very unjust and 
rigorous treatment that will induce him to desert it, and so 
long as ho continues it, proper management will turn it to the 
benefit of the state. 

The following letter from Almas to the governor-general 
read along with the Resident's letter just quoted reveals 
the amil's attitude towards the sarkar and the Company: 

By the blessings of God, Maj. Palmer who resides here knows 
everything good or bad and is the master. Whatever I might 
say further would be superfluous. I the slave of his Highness 
will not to the end of my life think of any other place besides 
this. It will have been represented to you also how steadfastly 
from my soul I maintain my duty and attachment to the 
government of his Highness and of the Company, which are 
the same. I am firmly convinced that during my lire no deviation 
or deficiency will ever be found* in my obedience, attachment 
and labours for the sircar of his Highness and of the Company, 

29 Valentia, op. cit. 136-7, 141-2 ; For the episode of the Begams of Oudh 
see 0. C. Davies, Warren Hastings and Oudh 163 ff. 

30 B. 8. C. 19 Feb. 1785 

31 B. tf. C. 8 Mar. 1785 Palmer to governor-general 13 Feb. 

32 Palmer to GG 21 Feb. 

which are the same . . . From your commands . . I have received 
the completest confirmation and comfort, both outwardly and 
inwardly, and I have no thought except those of slavery and 
obedience to the government. Accordingly I am day and night 
employed with the greatest exertion of attachment in the 
concerns of the sircar . . . 83 . 

When on the death of Ilich Khan in 1776 Asafuddaula 
nominated Almas for the post of minister, Almas refused 
being unwilling to bear the heavy responsibility* 4 . He 
is said to have recommended instead Haidar Beg Khan 
for the post, who was accordingly appointed. However, 
no love was lost between the amil and the minister and 
conflicts between them occurred frequently. Almas often 
evaded paying his dues in full on the plea of Sikh inroads 
into his amildari or destruction of the crops by hail or 
frost, or other such excuses, some of them transparently 
thin. In 1780 the minister 

silenced him with clear and decisive arguments, and demanded 
seven lakhs of rupees. Reply was vain and he had to pay. He 
writhed under this, and in his mortification and chagrin.... 
determined to effect Haidar Beg's dismissal 36 . 

In this however he never succeeded, but Haidar Beg 
lived in constant fear of him. L/ater on other causes of 
disagreement between them arose, e.g., dismissal by 
Haidar Beg of two dependants of Almas 36 . Apparently 
cordial relations were re-established between them by 
the efforts of Palmer and, later on, Edward Otto Ives 
(Resident), but neither seems ever to have completely 
forgotten the grievances against the other 37 . On 10 
March 1786 an attempt was made on the life of Almas 
as he was going from the house of Haidar Beg at Lucknow. 
He escaped, however, and the motive of the assassins 
were not found out, n^p was it established that they 
had been engaged by Haidar Beg Khan 38 . 

A situation similar to that of January 1785 arose in 
December 1788 when Almas sent his family secretly away 
from Lucknow. It was apprehended that he intended 

33 B.S.C. 19 Apr. 1785. 34 Faiz Bakhsh, op. cit. 83-4. 35 ibid 84 

36 B.S.C. 8 Mar. 1785 Palmer to GG 13 Feb. 

37 J5.P.C. 3 Dec. 1790 Ives to GG Nov. 22 ; B.P.C. 9 Dec. 1790, same 
to same 25 Nov. ; B.P.C. 5 Juu. 1791, same to same 22 Dec. 

38 B.L. 24 Letter in Secret Department 24 Mar. 1786 ; B.S.C. 22 Mar. 
1786 Harper to GG 10 Mar. 


to withdraw with his wealth from the nawab's territory 
or to force from the sarkar terms which the nawab 
could not with propriety accept 39 . The nawab, presumably 
on the suggestion of Haidar Beg, sent a shuqqah to the 
Resident summing up his charges against Almas and 
requesting him to send a detachment of the Company's 
forces to imprison Almas 40 . On 4 January 1789 Ives 
sent orders to Col. MacLeod of the Company's brigade 
stationed at Cawnpore to proceed towards Almas's district 
under the pretext of marching to Fathgarh lest Almas 
should become suspicious. He thought the step proper 
since Almas by disregarding the nawab's order to come 
to Lucknow and having kept a larger army than 
he had been permitted had technically rebelled, and 
Cornwallis in his letter of 16 June 1788 41 had said 
that the Company's troops "could be employed to suppress 
contumacy, rebellion or reduce a refractory zemindar." 
The governor-general accordingly approved of the 
Resident's action 42 . On 15 January, however, Almas 
arrived at I/ucknow in obedience to the nawab's wishes 
and MacLeod's orders were cancelled 4a . Reconciliation 
took place between the nawab and his amil who was 
permitted soon after to return to his district, his family 
as well as that of an adopted son of his remaining at 
Lucknow by way of security 44 . 

Again in November 1790 a serious dispute broke 
out between Almas and Haidar Beg and the latter was 
so frightened that he fortified his house against possible 
assault by Almas 45 . But this dispute, too, was soon 
settled through the mediation of the Resident who 
reported to the governor-general on 25 November that 
Almas had been to Haidar Beg's house and though the 
dispute was not completely settled, the sting had gone out 
of it, and, therefore, the public affairs were not expected 

39 B.S.C. 14 Jan. 1789 Ives to GG 4 Jan. 

40 B.S.C. 19 Jan. 1789 Ives to Cornwallis 11 Jan. 

41 B.S.C. 16 Jun. 1788. 

42 B.8.C. 19 Jan. 1789 Cornwallis to Ives. 

43 B.8.C. 26 Jan. 1789 Ives to Cornwallis 17 Jan. 

44 B.S.C. 8 Apr. 1789 Ives to Cornwallis 26 Mar. 

45 B.P.C. 3 Dec. 1790 Ivea to Cornwallis 22 Nov. 


to 'be disturbed 46 . Soon after this Almas was honoured 
with a khilat (robe of honour) from the nawab and the 
dispute appeared to have been amicably settled 47 . 

As to Almas's administration of his districts, the 
remarks of Sleeman have already been quoted. On that 
point Ives writes : 48 

In my late excursion to Agra (November 1791 January 1792), 
in which the greater part of my route lay through his [Almas's] 
districts, I found the country in general in a fine state of 
cultivation. Almas is ignorant of letters . . . though the extent 
of his memory and the intimate knowledge of the revenues 
are such as to counter-balance this disadvantage. 

When Haidar iBeg died (5 June 1792), the question of 
appointing ' his successor arose. Ives wrote to Cornwallis 
that of the two persons Haidar Beg dreaded most as 
his serious rivals, one was Almas/ y but that "whether 
his character as a minister would equal his abilities as 
farmer, may reasonably be doubted." The governor- 
general's comment was : 50 

Considering the character of Almas, and the general tenor of 
his conduct as a subject of the Wazir's government, he would 
have been a very improper person to fill the station that was 
held in it by Haidar Beg. 

This note was responsible for Shore's rejection of 
Almas for the same post in 1797, although personally 
he thought that much good could have been effected 
by the great amil. Shore wrote : 51 

Almas with the support of our government would in tune have 
introduced a reform in the administration of the Vizier, I have 
no doubt; under him it would have acquired energy which has 
been so long wanting. He certainly would have put a stop to 
the boundless profusion and peculation pervading every depart- 
ment, the revenues would have been well collected, the discipline 
of the troops would have been improved, and the subsidy to the 
Company would have been discharged with a regularity hitherto 
unknown. In tracing the grounds of suspicion against Almas 
it ajypeared to me rather to have been excited by his power than 
by his conduct, that a long period has elapsed since these suspicions 
were first entertained, without adequate proof that he merited them 6 * 

46 B.P.O. 9 Dec. 1790. 

47 B.P.C. 5 Jan. 1791 Ives to Cornwallis 22 Dec. 1790. 

48 B.P.C. 15 Jun. 1792 Ives to Cornwallis 6 Jun. 

49 ibid. 

20 B.P.C. 3 Aug. 1792 Cornwallis to Ives. 
61 B.8.C. 10 Apr. 1797 Shore to Speke 5 Apr. 
52 Author's italics. 


(unless his secession from the country on one occasion to secure 
his property and person be deemed evidence of his disaffection) 
and that for some years they have scarcely been mentioned. 
Almas is now 70 years old, without relations or connections.... 
He would not have been the minister of my choice, not from 
any apprehension which I entertain of his allegiance, but on 
account of his severe, arbitrary and unaccomodating disposition 
which might have led him into opposition or inattention to 
the recommendations of the Residents. The appointment would 
have been certainly very unpopular, and the Wazir would I 
think soon have regretted it. 

Almas died in 1808 53 . 

It is unfortunate that Shore decided not to approve 
of Almas's appointment. His objections to Almas, though 
apparently valid, were not insuperable. In the remaining 
eleven years of his life the great amil might have extracted 
the affairs of Oudh from the dire straits into which Asafud- 
daula had cast them, especially because he would have 
been unhampered by the vagaries of the nawab who died in 
September 1797 and was succeeded by a very much abler 
man, Sa'adat Ali (leaving out the five months of Wazir 
Ali's nawabi). It is of course too much to expect that by 
Almas 's appointment the whole course of the history of 
Oudh would have been changed and that Oudh would have 
to this day remained an independent state. For Wellesley's 
ideas were different. He was convinced, as we shall see in 
the last chapter of this book, that the annexation -of Oudh 
was essential for the security of the British dominion in 
India, and that British dominion was good for India as 
much as for Britain. But a better state of affairs in Oudh 
(which would have been brought about by Almas and 
Sa'adat Ali) than what Wellesley found on his arrival in 
India, would have given him less excuse to coerce Sa'adat 
Ali to cede half of his country. Wellesley would have had 
to act more openly and more honestly in the interests of 
Britain, and much of the later controversy on his Oudh 
policy might have been avoided. 

After the death of Mukhtaruddaula and Ilich Khan in 
quick succession, Asafuddaula chose Hasan Raza Khan 
for the post of his chief minister. He was a man who 
commanded respect from all. The Residents, Ives and 

53 T. U. Beale, Oriental Biographical Dictionary. 


Cherry, write well of him as does Shore 54 . His defects were 
his pride and illiteracy for which it was found necessary 
to appoint an assistant 66 . Haidar Beg Khan was chosen 
for that office which he occupied till his death in 1792. 
It was he who in fact wielded all the authority leaving 
the patronage to his chief. Haidar Beg is, therefore, 
referred to in all the English correspondence of the period 
as the Acting Minister. 

Of Hasan Raza Khan's antecedents little is known 
except that he was the son of Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, 
who had perhaps held the post of "superintendent of the 
kitchen" under Shujauddaula 66 . Ibrahim Khan's father, 
Jansipar Khan, seems to have been a man of some con- 
sequence in Aurangzeb's time. Hasan Raza married the 
daughter of Ghulam Ali Khan, a courtier of Shujauddaula, 
and became a close friend of Muhammad Bashir Khan, an 
influential nobleman. By him he was introduced to the 
nawab who appointed him "superintendent of the kitchen* ' 
(darogha-i-bawarchikhana)* 1 . He was known in those 
days by the name of Mirza Hasnu. Gradually he became 
a favourite of Shujauddaula, and after the death of Mian 
Basant was appointed "superintendent of the audience 
chamber " (darogha-i-diwankhana) 58 . After the nawab's 
death he fell into the background until the time he was 
appointed chief minister with the title of Sarfarazuddaula 

As chief minister Hasan Raza had little to do except 
accompany the nawab on his tours and hunting expedi- 
tions, but he received a handsome salary and nazars from 
the people on 'Id and other festivals. He was respected 
as a brother by Asafuddaula who called him 'bhaia* 59 . 
He can be said to have improved the 'tone' of the Court. 
He was deeply religious and did much for the instruction 

54 B.P.C. 15 Jun. 1792 Ives to Cornwallis 6 Jun.; B.P.C. 1 Aug. 1795 ; 
B.8.C. 10 Apr. 1797 Shore to Speke 5 Apr. 

55 Kamaluddin Haidar, op. cit. f. 24 ; B.P.C. 15 Jun. 1792 Ives to 
Cornwallis 6 Jun. 

56 Mir Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 136. 

57 ibid ; Faiz Bakhsh, Op. cit. 135. 

58 Some popular stories about Shujauddaula's regard for Hasan Baza can 
be read in Imad-us-Sa'adat 136. 

59 ibid 137. 

of the people in the principles and rites of the Shia sect 60 . 
He continued to be the chief minister till almost the end 
of Asafuddaula's days. During the residency of Cherry 
(April 1794- July 1796) he and his assistant, Raja Tikait 
Rai, joined the Resident in trying to reduce the influence 
of the nawab's favourites, Raja Jhao Lai, etc. This 
displeased the nawab who dismissed the ministers and got 
Cherry recalled. Hasan Raza was reinstated by Shore 
after the deposition of Wazir Ali 61 , but Sa'adat AH who 
had no patience with inefficiency asked him to retire 
with a pension of Rs. 25,000 a month. He refused the 
pension out of pride and lived for some time in great 
distress, practically on the charity of John L,umsden 
(Resident) and Almas. Later on, however, he swallowed 
his pride and applied through the Resident for the 
pension, but the nawab now offered to pay only Rs. 8,000 a 
month and the Resident refused to plead for him any more. 
Hasan Raza indignantly refused and retired completely 
from public life. He died in great poverty in i8oi 62 . 

The person really responsible for the internal adminis- 
tration of Oudh during the greater part of Asafuddaula's 
nawabi was Haidar Beg Khan. As has been said, he was 
appointed in 1190 A.H. (about August 1776) as Hasan 
Raza's assistant, but was in fact the working minister. He 
remained in that post till his death on 5 June 1792. Hai- 
dar Beg's career was remarkable. His family had its origin in 
Fathabad near Kabul. He and his brother, Nur Beg, became 
friendly with Raja Beni Bahadur when he was diwan 
under Shujauddaula, and in the raja's service they amassed 
a sizeable fortune. When Beni Bahadur fell from the 
nawab's favour and was imprisoned, the two brothers went 
with him charged with embezzlement. Nur Beg could not 
stand the rigours of prison and died, but Haidar Beg 
survived and was later released through the mediation 
of Bahu Begam. He then led a precarious existence for 
some time, but gradually improved his position and by 
the time of Shujauddaula's death had acquired the amildari 

60 ibid ; Kamaluddin Haidar, op. cit. f. 28. 

61 Chapter VII 

62 Kamaluddin Haidar, Tawarikh-i-Awadh 1 153. 


of Kora Jahanabad. Ilich Khan, minister in 1776, did not 
like him and persecuted him for alleged arrears of rent, 
but Murtaza Khan Barich, an officer in the nawab's 
government, took pity on him and stood security for him. 
Thus he escaped being put into prison but was divested 
of office. 63 

Haidar Beg then sought to regain his position with 
the help of the Resident, John Bristow. For that purpose 
he used to go every morning to the residency to pay his 
court to Bristow who after some time became interested 
in him. On examining him the Resident found him well 
trained in administrative work. Just about this time the 
question of finding an assistant for Hasan Raza came up, 
and on the suggestion of Agha Ismail, a friend of Bristow, 
the latter prevailed upon the nawab to appoint Haidar 
Beg to the post. He was then given the title of 
Amiruddaula 64 . Faiz Bakhsh says he was appointed on 
the recommendation of Almas who had himself refused the 
post, but of this there is no corroboration by any other 
contemporary writer. 

The acting minister seems to have been unpopular 
with men of rank who regarded him as an upstart. He felt 
this but being an extemely shrewd man kept, quiet until 
he had a chance to strike against his enemies, and then 
he struck hard. For three years he strove to please 
Asafuddaula and the Company's officers, and then he had 
his revenge. A list of his enemies and how he dealt with 
them has been detailed by Faiz Bakhsh 65 . His lifelong 
struggle against Almas has already been described. Accord- 
ing to Faiz Bakhsh and Abu Talib, he was the prime mover 
behind the plunder of the Begams and the torture and 
humiliation of their eunuchs against whom he bore a 
grudge 66 . According to Ghulam Ali and Rai Ratan Chand, 
he was responsible for the recall of Bristow in 1781. He 
resented the assumption of extensive powers by the Resi- 
dent, and through . the medium of Raja Govindram (the 

63 Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 135 

64 Kamaluddin Haidar, op. cit. f.24-5 

65 Faiz Bakhsh, op. cit. 84ff. 

. 66 ibid. lOOff ; Abu Talib, op. cit. 60 


nawab's agent at Calcutta) and Claude Martine 67 sent 
repeated complaints against Bristow's high-handedness to 
the governor-general and the members of his Council, 
which resulted in Bristow's recall 68 . Abu Talib says that 
gratitude was a quality which was in Haidar Beg prominent 
by its absence. He was exceedingly cunning, had great 
knowledge of men, and planned everything so carefully 
that he rarely failed to achieve his purpose 69 . He was 
singularly lacking in ordinary courage and his habits of 
procrastination and extravagance were notorious 70 . On 
the other hand, he was efficient in his work and had an 
intimate knowledge of the country 71 . Warren Hastings 
at first suspicious of his honesty and integrity was later 
on convinced of his worth and his conclusion was that 
he had not been given a fair chance to display his abilities, 
having been too much hampered by the nawab's caprices 
on the one hand, and interference by Bristow, Middleton 
and Johnson on the other 72 . Cornwallis, too, diffident 
at first about him later wrote to the Court of Directors 
that he was "undoubtedly the best man employed by the 
Vizier" 73 , and found it difficult to replace him after his 
death 74 ./ 

The successor of Haidar Beg in the post of acting 
minister was a Hindu Kayasth of the Saksena Dusre 
sub-caste named Raja Tikait Rai. In his youth he had 
been employed by Haidar Beg Khan Naishapuri, a military 
officer under Safdar Jung. Later he became diwan of 
Khushnazar Ali Khan Khwajasara, "superintendent of 
the armoury " (darogha-i-zanburkhana) in Shujauddaula's 

67 Superintendent of the nawab's arsenal and founder of La Martinfere 
schools at Lucknow and Calcutta. Originally a private in the army, he 
rose to the rank of major-general. His career is one of the most pictur- 
osque, though somewhat lurid in details, of the large % number of Euro- 
pean adventurers who frequented Indian Courts in the late 18th and 
early 19th centuries. 

68 Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 137-8 ; Ratan Chand, op. cit. f. 193-4 ; Gleig 
III 118 ff. Hastings to Scott 15 Oct. 1783 ; Gleig III 137 ff. same 
to same 10 Jan. 1784. 

69 Faiz Bakhsh, op. cit. 146. 

70 ibid 147; B.P.C. 15 Jun. 1792 Ives to Cornwallis 6 Jan.; also other 
letters of Ives. 

71 B.8.C. 16 Jan. 1788 Ives to Cornwallis 7 Jan. 

72 Gleig III 118 ff. Letters of Hastings to Scott. 

73 Ross I 312-4. 

74 B.L. 31 Cornwallis to Directors 26 Aug. 1792. 

3 17 

government. During the ministry of Mukhtaruddaula, 
Tikait Rai was promoted as a clerk in the civil court and 
after Mukhtaruddaula's murder was appointed assistant 
to Mir Hasan, "supervisor of the revenue department" 
(darogha-i-kachehri). Tikait Rai continued to rise steadily 
in service and though apparently attached to Hasan 
Raza Khan, in fact looked up to Haidar Beg for patronage. 
He is still remembered for his lavish charities and was 
known as the Raja Karan 75 of his time. He granted 
stipends and pensions to many learned men and other 
deserving people 76 . On the other hand, he had the ill 
reputation of being an invert, which probably explains 
his appointment, when he became acting minister, of 
many inexperienced and incompetent young men to 
offices of responsibility 77 . In June 1792 Tikait Rai was 
selected to succeed Haidar Beg because of his long 
experience in the revenue department and the complete 
confidence that the late minister had reposed in him. 
During Haidar Beg's absence on a mission to Calcutta 
in 1787 for nine months, Tikait Rai had held the entire 
charge of the revenue department. He appears to have 
been a cringing type of man lacking in that dignity of 
manners which commanded respect and enforced obedience 
at a time when personal considerations carried great 
weight. Tikait Rai was also feeble in character and 
vacillating 78 . 

Though in name Tikait Rai was Hasan Raza's assistant, 
he, like Haidar Beg, exercised uncontrolled authority. The 
two ministers undertook a journey to Calcutta in 1793 to 
discuss with Shore the question of reforming the adminis- 
tration of Oudh and the means of liquidating the nawab's 
debts to the Company. After their return the two gradually 
fell away from each other. The nawab's debts were 
mounting steadily and Tikait Rai often troubled Asafud- 
daula about them, sometimes not meeting his demands for 

75 A character in the Mahabharata known for his charity and bravery. 

76 Ghulam All, op. cit. 136-7. 

77 AbuTalib,op. cit. 115. 

78 References to Tikait Rai in B.P.C. 15 Jun. 1792 Ives to Cornwallis 
6 Jun. ; B.P.C. 1 Aug. 1795 Cherry to Shore ; B.8.C. 10 Apr. 
1797 Shore to Speke 5 Apr. 


money promptly. These things annoyed the nawab from 
whose favour the acting minister fell till at last in 1210 
A.H. (1795-96) Raja Jhao Lai, perhaps the greatest 
favourite of Asafuddaula, persuaded the nawab to believe 
that Tikait Rai had embezzled large sums of money 79 . 
He alleged that the practice of the minister had been to 
appoint his relatives and favourites to the treasury (e.g. 
Baijnath, treasurer) to embezzle large sums of money with 
their help, and to lend this money to the sarkar in the 
names of various bankers and moneylenders at exorbitant 
rates of interest 80 . Then he realised from the treasury 
the interest and sometimes the principal, of which a small 
portion went to the bankers whose names had been made 
use of white the greater part went to the minister himself. 
The nawab appointed Rai Balakram, a minion -of Jhao 
lyal, to check up Tikait Rai's accounts, and the result 
was the reduction of the nawab 's debts to the bankers 
to about a seventh of Tikait Rai's total 81 . How far this 
reduction was fair and how far the result of Balakram's 
excessive zeal is not known, but that Tikait Rai's conduct 
had not been above board is proved from a statement 
of Cherry, a patron of Tikait Rai, suggesting that 
the minister delayed in delivering to him the accounts 
of the sarkar for fear of involving himself and his 
dependants 82 . 

The nawab dismissed Tikait Rai and his friends and 
suggested to Hasan Raza the appointment of Jhao I,al 
as assistant minister. Hasan Raza, fearing that Jhao 
Lai being a favourite of the nawab would be too indepen- 
dent of him, induced Cherry to influence the nawab to 
reinstate Tikait Rai. Thus in May 1796 Tikait Rai was 
reappointed, but without the charge of the treasury 83 , 
but within a month both he and Hasan Raza were finally 
dismissed by the nawab. Cherry's patronage of Tikait 

79 Ghulam All, op. cit. 163 ; Ratan Chand, op. cit. f. 210-11. 

80 Cherry mentions 36 p. c. compound. This charge was true, see B.P.C. 
18 Sep. 1795 Cherry to Shore 1 Sep. 

81 Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 153. 

82 B.P.C. 1 Aug. 1795 Cherry to Shore 21 July ; B.P.C. 14 Aug. 1795 
GO to Cherry 12 Aug. 

83 Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 153; B.P.C. 26 May 1796 Cherry to GG 9 May. 

Rai seems to have been due more to his dislike of Jhao 
Lai (in which he was supported by Shore's definite 
censure 84 ) than for any particular admiration for Tikait 
Rai himself 85 . When Cherry was recalled, Jhao Lai 
became the principal adviser of Asafuddaula, the offices 
of diwani and bakhshigari being nominally conferred upon 
the two reputed sons of the nawab, Wazir AH and Raza 
Ali. 86 

The principal favourite of Asafuddaula was Raja Jhao 
Lai whose banishment from Oudh is said to have hastened 
the nawab's death. Unfortunately very little is mentioned 
about him either by the Indian chroniclers or in the 
official documents of the time except that his principal 
means of retaining the nawab's favour were flattery 
and constant pandering to his caprices. There is in 
Lucknow a bridge and the surrounding locality bearing 
the name of Jhao Lai, probably commemorating the 
favourite. The only mention of him in some detail is 
found in Imad-us-Sa'adat* 1 where he is described as a 
Hindu Kayasth of the Saksena Dusre sub-caste. His 
father had been a servant of Rafi-ud-Darajat 88 . Lumsden 
says he was a Muslim though he bore a Hindu name 89 , 
but no Indian chronicler confirms that, which they 
would almost certainly have done if it were correct. 
He was employed under Shujauddaula as "superintendent 
of the audience chamber" (darogha-i-diwankhana) which 
office he held when Asafuddaula ascended the masnad. 
He was popularly known as Lalluji. Though he was 
married and had children, he spent large sums of money 
on dancing girls and prostitutes. Asafuddaula on the 
day of his accession promoted him to the station of 
"grand equerry and master of horse" (khasat-ush-shak 
aqasigari wa akhtabegigari) tto along with several other 
offices, e.g. command of a body of troops and paymaster- 

84 B.P.C. 26 Jun. 1795. 

86 B.P.C. 20 May 1796 Cherry to Shore 21 July 1795. 

86 B.P.C. 17 Jun. 1796 Cherry to GG 1 Jun. 

87 Pp. 129, 146-7, 153-7. 

88 Ratan Chand, op. cit. f. 213. 

89 B.P.C. 14 Oct. 1796 Lumsden to Shore 15 Sep. 

90 Ghulam All, op. cit. 129. 


general (mir bakhshi) 9l . He was at that time also given 
the title of Maharaja. 

His influence with the nawab increased- every day and 
the minister Mukhtaruddaula growing jealous had him 
imprisoned. After the minister's death he was released and 
retired to Etawah. There he entertained Warren Hastings 
when he was on his way back to Calcutta after his last 
visit to Lucknow. Hastings was favourably impressed by 
him and recommended him to Hasan Raza and Haidar 
Beg, and thus Jhao Lai found his way back to the durbar. 
As soon as he got a place there, he exerted his influence 
with the nawab and started interfering in the affairs of the 
administration, and grew so conceited that he ceased to 
pay even the customary respect to the ministers 92 . His 
influence in Court reached its peak during 1794-6 while 
that of Tikait Rai declined. When on 31 March 1796 
Asafuddaula had an occasion to meet the commander-in- 
chief, Sir Robert Abercrombie, at Lucknow, he requested 
him to secure the governor-general's consent to the 
dismissal of Tikait Rai and the appointment of Jhao Lai 
in his place 93 . At the time of Tikait Rai's reappointment 
with reduced powers in May 1796, Jhao Lai was given the 
charge of the nawab's household and the headship of the 
intelligence department 94 . On the final dismissal of Hasan 
Raza and Tikait Rai in June 1796, Jhao Lai became all- 
powerful. But at this time he was suspected of plotting 
with Zaman Shah, King of Afghanistan, Ghulam Muham- 
mad Khan, the Rohilla chief, Sindhia and some other 
chiefs of India to oust the English from Oudh, which led 
to his banishment by Shore early in I797 95 . 

Two facts suggest that Jhao Lai was a man of ability. 
Firstly, he had successfully held office under Shujauddaula, 
and, secondly, Warren Hastings's recommendation. Lums- 
den says that he was "eager to work but his talents 
were unequal to his situation" 96 . He was unpopular both 

91 Ratan Chand op. cit. f. 172, 182. 

92 Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 146-7. 

93 B.P.C. 16 May 1796. 

94 B.P.C. 20 May 1796 Cherry to Shore 9 May ; nawab-wazir to Real- 
dent 3 May. 

95 Kamaluddin Haidar, op. cit. f. 27 ; Ghulam All, op. cit. 157. 

96 B.P.C. 2 Jan. 1797 Lumsden to Shore 24 Deo. 1796. 


witH the nawab's and the Company's officials. The reason 
for the first seems to have been his conceit and the jeal- 
ousy arising out of his influence with the nawab ; for the 
latter, his definite hostility towards the English. That 
he was unsuited for the post of minister is certain for, as 
Abu Talib suggests, all his time was taken up in humour- 
ing the capricious nawab leaving him little leisure to 
attend to public affairs 97 . 

Shore experienced great difficulty in removing Jhao 
I/al; he had still greater difficulty in finding a successor 
acceptable both to himself and Asafuddaula. He suggested 
the names of Hasan Raza and Tikait Rai, but the nawab 
would have neither of them. At last Almas was decided 
upon and was proclaimed minister, but only for a day 98 . 
Ultimately a man was found whom Shore whole-heartedly 
recommended and to whom Asafuddaula had the least 
objection. He was Tafazzul Hussain Khan, once tutor of 
Asafuddaula and Sa'adat Ali, and in 1797 an old man. But 
Tafazzul refused to accept office. It was after a great deal 
of persuation by the governor-general and the nawab that 
he at last consented to be the chief minister. 

Tafazzul" was a very remarkable man if not a great 
minister. His ancestors were Sunnis and belonged to 
Kashmir from where they had migrated to the Punjab. At 
the early age of 13 or 14 he came with his parents to Delhi 
and became a pupil of Mulla Nizamuddin, a famous tea- 
cher. When he was 18 years old his parents moved down to 
lyucknow and there Tafazzul became the pupil of another 
famous man of learning, Mulla Hasan of Firangi Mahal. 
He was soon recognised as a student of unusual merit and 
a keen debater. He embarrassed his teachers so much by 
raising awkward discussions that Mulla Hasan finally threw 

97 Abu Talib, op. cit. 125-6. An account of Jhao Lai's supposed compli- 
city in Wazir Ali's rebellion and his later career can be read in a Persian 
manuscript entitled Mirat-ul-hwal by Aka Ahmad Babhani, to be 
found in Oriental Public Library, Patna. I have not been able to 
consult the manuscript myself, but have seen it referred to by K. K. 
Datta in an article on Wazir Ali's rebellion in Bengal Past and Present 
Vol. LV. Part HI. 

98 Ratan Chand, op. cit. f. 213. 

99 Qhulam Ali op. cit. 155-7 ; Tawarikh-i-Awadh by Kamaluddin Haidar 


him out of his school. He continued his studies by himself 
and soon acquired an intimate knowledge of the works of 
the great masters of philosophy and various sciences. His 
fame as a learned man spread quickly and Yaqut Khan, an 
old eunuch of Burhanulmulk, brought him before Shujaud- 
daula. The nawab was deeply impressed by his learning 
and high moral sense and promptly appointed him tutor of 
his two sons, Asafuddaula and Sa'adat Ali. He went with 
his wards to Allahabad where he came into contact with 
various learned men, especially Maulvi Mir Ghulam Hussain 
Deccani, and probably by his influence accepted the Shia 
faith. Of his two pupils, Sa'adat Ali who was intelligent 
became his favourite, and Asafuddaula who showed early 
signs of perversity never cared for his instructions. 

On Shujauddaula's death disagreement arose between 
Asafuddaula and Sa'adat Ali, and Tafazzul seems to have 
had a share in a plot to overthrow Asafuddaula 10 . 
Reconciliation was effected between the brothers by 
Warren Hastings, but Asafuddaula insisted on Tafazzul's 
dismissal from Sa'adat Ali's service. Sa'adat Ali refused, 
but Tafazzul solved the problem by himself leaving 
him 101 . Hastings who had a keen eye for talent, 
appointed Tafazzul assistant to Maj. Palmer who was 
then charged with conducting some important negotiations 
with the Rana of Gohud. In this post he did so well 
that towards the end of 1781 he was appointed assistant 
to David Anderson, the Company's agent at the Court 
of Sindhia. The treaty between the English and Sindhia 
of 17 May 1782 was largely negotiated by Tafazzul 103 . 
Thence he returned to the service of Palmer who was 
then Resident at Lucknow. In 1788 reconciliation took 
place between Tafazzul and Asafuddaula, and the former 
was appointed the nawab's wakil (agent) at Calcutta 
in succession to Raja Govindram. He did not like his 
office and accepted it only because he thought he could 
not with safety to himself refuse the nawab's and Haidar 

100 Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 120 ; Abu Talib, op. cit. 19-20. 

101 Asiatic Annual Register (1803); Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 157. 

102 Abu Talib, op. cit. 35 ; A. A. Beg. (1803) Letter of D. Anderson. 


Beg's offer 103 . He was very much more interested in 
the pursuit of learning. He had started reading English 
while in Sindhia's camp in 1781-2 and soon acquired 
unusual fluency in that language 104 . At Calcutta he 
cultivated the society of men like Sir William Jones, Shore 
and others, and at the house of Shore's friend, ^Richard 
Johnson, he got every facility to pursue the study of 
mathematics, astronomy and the languages. He availed 
himself of the instructions of Rubens Burrows, a celebrated 
mathematician, and from him acquired a knowledge of 
Newton's philosophy. lyater, he translated Newton's 
Principia from the original Latin into Arabic. He also 
translated into Arabic the following works : Emerson's 
Mechanics ; Simpson's Algebra ; Appollonius de Sectione 
Rationis, a work on conic sections by Guillaume Francois, 
Marquis de 1'Hopital ; and several short treatises on 
logarithms, curve lines, etc. 106 . Mathematics was Tafazzul's 
favourite subject, and before his death he had started 
reading Greek. 

As Asafuddaula's chief minister Tafazzul accomplished 
little owing perhaps to his own lack of interest in the 
affairs of state, Asafuddaula's antipathy and the shortness 
of his term of office. He was greatly instrumental in the 
deposition of Wazir Ali 106 . On the accession of Sa'adat 
Ali to the masnad in January 1798 he was reappointed 
the nawab's agent at Calcutta. He died at Hazaribagh 
on his way to Calcutta in the beginning of i8oo 107 . As 
a man and scholar he has been very highly spoken of 
by every contemporary writer. Even Shore, in whose 
company he visited England 108 and who is generally extra 
severe in his estimate of Indian character, pays him 
eloquent tribute. 109 

It will suffice to mention here only the names of some 

103 A. A. Reg. (1803) Tafazzul Hussain to D. Anderson. 

104 See his letter in English to D. Anderson in A. A. Reg. (1803). 

105 A. A. Reg. (1803) Rubens Burrows to Teignmouth; Tafazzul Hussain 
to D. Anderson. 

106 Kamaluddin Haidar, op. cit. f. 31. 

107 Tawarikh-i'Awadh 152. 

108 Teigumouth, Life of Lord Teigumouth 1 402-3. 

109 A. A. Reg. (1803) Letter of Teignmouth ; Teignmouth, op. cit. Shore's 
Journal, Shore to Lady Shore 21 Feb. and 3 Mar. 1797. 


of the lesser personalities in the nawab's durbar who during 
the period under review had had a share in the government 
of Oudh. They were : Surat Singh, Raja Jagannath, 
Hulas Rai, Buchhraj, Tahsin Ali Khan, Balakram, 
Bhagwan Das, Dhanpat Rai, Bhawani Mahra, Zainulabdin, 
Mirza Hasan, Mehdi Ali, Govindram, Ratan Chand, Abu 
Talib, etc. They possessed varying degrees of ability and 
power, the two not always proportionate to each other 
because they were employed either haphazardly or 
deliberately with corrupt intentions 110 . Their influence 
on the administration was, not unnaturally, more often 
baneful than beneficial. It can, however, be said that 
the failure of Asafuddaula's government and the ruin and 
disorder in which it resulted were not due to any dearth 
of able servants. The neglect from the centre for about 
a quarter of a century was bound to reduce a despotic state 
like Oudh to that miserable condition in which Sa'adat 
Ali found it on his accession. Asafuddaula's negligence 
and caprices, which could not have continued unhampered 
so long but for the military protection of the East India 
Company, ruined the finances of the state and lowered 
the dignity of the nawabi to an unprecedented degree. 

110 I have not found many details about them in the chronicles or official 
documents I have consulted, where they are only casually mentioned. 



EVER since Shujauddaula's war against the Rohillas 
(1774) a detachment of British troops had been main- 
tained in Oudh at the nawab's expense. Employed at 
the nawab's will at first, the maintenance of the Company's 
brigades in Oudh was made obligatory by the treaty of 
Fyzabad (1775) l . The avowed object of this was that 
the sarkar needed these troops for the protection of its 
territories, but it has been held by the critics of Hastings 2 
that the real object was the maintenance of a sizeable 
force at the nawab's expense. Whether the sarkar really 
needed this force is a question which can be answered 
only after an examination of the relations between Oudh 

1 In 1785 the number of the Company's troops in Oudh was as follows: 
At Cawnpore : 

1 regiment of European infantry . . . . 416 

1 company of European artillery 83 

1 battalion of lascars 330 

5 regiments of sepoys 4,101 

1 rissala of cavalry 113 

1 company of golandazes 130 

Total at Cawnpore . . 5,173 
At Fathgarh : 

1 company of European artillery . . 96 

1 battalion of lascars . . . . 340 

1 rissala of cavalry .. .. 113 

5 regiments of sepoys . . . . 4,067 

Total at Fathgarh- .. 4,616 

At Lucknpw : 

1 regiment of sepoys . . . . 822 

Total in Oudh . . 10,611 
Expenses charged from the Nawab : 

For Cawnpore brigade . . . . Rs. 2,60,000 p.m. 

For Fathgarh brigade . . . . Rs. 1,45,000 p.m. 

For Lucknow regiment . . . . Rs. 25,000 p.m. 

Total Rs. 4,30,000 p.m. 

2 It may be said in Hastings's defence that the treaty of 1775 was forced 
on Asafuddaula by the Majority in Calcutta Council which was 
hostile to Hastings. 


and its neighbours and the efficiency of the nawab's 
own army. As to the latter point it has already been 
mentioned that Asafuddaula's first minister Mukhtarud- 
daula lost no time in dismissing a number of competent 
officers and disbanding a good part of Shujauddaula's 
army already depleted by the Rohilla war. No attempt 
was made by the succeeding ministers, and still less by 
the nawab himself, to restore the nawabi army to its 
former state of efficiency, while Oudh's relations with its 
neighbours were not always cordial. 

The principal among Oudh's neighbours were besides 
the British, the Mahrattas under Sindhia, the Sikhs, 
several Rajput rajas, and the Rohilla nawabs of 
Saharanpur and Rampur. To this list should be added 
the name of the Shah of Afghanistan who though not 
a neighbour of Oudh in the strictest sense of the word 
nevertheless often caused panic in I/ucknow by his threats 
of invading India. 

(i) Sindhia 

Warren Hastings in 1784 wrote that Sindhia was the 
only considerable power which could possibly threaten 
Oudh. Mahadji Sindhia was an ambitious and successful 
statesman and generally accepted as a competent warrior. 
Since 1771 he had usurped all the authority of the Mughal 
Emperor, Shah Alam, laid claim to various districts and forts 
in the Doab in the Emperor's name, and received honours 
from his docile overlord. But Shah Alam, never trustful 
of Sindhia, secretly encouraged the Doab chiefs to hold 
out against him, thus encouraging those who were ap- 
parently in rebellion against himself. These chiefs, mostly 
Muslim, sometimes applied to the nawab-wazir for help 
and there seemed to be a party in I^ucknow strongly in 
favour of going to their aid, firstly because Oudh was a 
Muslim state, and secondly because the nawab of Oudh was 
also the wazir of the Empire and it was thought to be his 
duty to help those who were in fact acting according to 
the Emperor's wishes. Moreover, the heir-apparent to 
the Empire, Prince Jawan Bakht, had fled from the 
Emperor's presence, it is said with his father's connivance, 


and had taken refuge in Lucknow. From time to time tie 
received secret messages from the Emperor suggesting 
that he should march at the head of a combined English 
and Oudh army to free his father from the thraldom of 
Sindhia. There existed thus, as will be seen later, a strong 
anti-Mahratta party in Lucknow, which often led to 
misunderstandings and wordy duels between the nawab 
and Sindhia. 

There were various other sources of bickerings between 
the two states. In fact they were universally regarded as 
natural enemies. They had everything to quarrel about and 
nothing to agree upon. Oudh was the only large Muslim 
state left in northern India which Sindhia presumably 
dreamt of converting into a Hindu Empire as soon as he 
found himself free to do so. Major Palmer wrote to Corn- 
wallis on 26 August 1789* : 

Sindhia has directed Appa Bhaironath to acquaint us that an 
amicable arrangement in the affairs of Hindustan will soon be 
made between him and Holkar (ruler of Indore), and their joint 
force employed in establishing the peace and security or the 
country, and the administration of the Maratha gavernment in 
the name of Shah Alam. 

The nawab of Oudh was the wazir of the Empire, a 
position which Sindhia perhaps coveted. The Mahrattas 
and the earlier nawab-wazirs of Oudh had been almost 
constantly at war against each other. Important places 
of Hindu pilgrimage were situated within Oudh, e.g. 
Allahabad, Benares, Ayodhia, and the Mahrattas had 
to pass through Oudh territory in order to get to Gaya in 
Bihar. There were traditional pilgrim taxes at all these 
places and the Mahrattas resented paying such taxes to 
a Muslim chief. Then again, it often happened that a 
discontented or dismissed officer of the nawab's army would 
collect as many men and as much arms as he could and 
cross the frontier into Sindhia's territory. Such persons 
were almost invariably well-received by Sindhia and the 
same thing happened the other way round. Or, a person 
having incurred the wrath of either chief fled into the other 
chiefs territory and was as a rule given asylum, it being 

3 B.L. 28 letter in Political Department 5 November 1789. 


the ancient practice of India far the powerful to protect 
one seeking refuge. 

Such were the various causes of the disputes which 
were constantly arising between the two. On the other 
hand, from 1784 to the Anglo-Mahratta war in Wellesley's 
time the Company was on friendly terms with Sindhia 
and this was a guarantee against active Mahratta hostility 
towards Oudh. The Calcutta government, however, was 
not fully confident that this friendship would last, but they 
continued to maintain, as long as they could, friendly 
relations with the great Mahratta chief. Had it not been 
for their mediation it is very probable that Sindhia and 
Oudh would have come to an armed conflict. The Calcutta 
government, not wishing to give Sindhia any cause for 
action against Oudh, always prevented the nawab from 
taking any extreme step with regard to Sindhia. Sindhia 
on the other hand, being fully conscious of the military 
superiority of the English, thought it prudent not to offend 
them by acting openly to the prejudice of their ally, the 
nawab of Oudh, until at least he had his hands free from 
the court intrigues at Poona and from the hostility of the 
Rajput and other chiefs of northern India. 

There occurred quite a number of incidents which 
would show that, in spite of the mutual distrust between 
Oudh and Sindhia, there was little possibility of any 
open hostility between the two. Any advance made by 
Sindhia for whatever reason towards the frontier of Oudh 
was looked upon in lyucknow as a threat of attack upon 
Oudh itself. Sindhia, already in possession of Delhi, 
wanted gradually to strengthen his hold upon northern 
India by subjugating the local chiefs, principal among 
them being Najaf Khan, the qiledar of Agra, who held 
a large part of the Doab from the Emperor ; Jahangir 
Khan, the qiledar of Aligarh ; Ghulam Qadir Khan, the 
nawab of Saharanpur ; and the rajas of Jaipur and 
Jodhpur. All these smaller chiefs as well as the Sikhs 
neither paid regular tribute to Shah Alam nor did they 
always acknowledge his suzerainty, and had thus technically 
rebelled against him. Sindhia as the Emperor's agent had 
a technical ground to go to war against them. In doing 


so he had often to come near the Oudh frontier, 
and every time he did so it gave rise to alarm in 

Of the strongholds of the refractory chiefs mentioned 
above the first to fall was Agra. It surrendered to 
Sindhia on 27 March 1785 4 and Shah Alam immediately 
afterwards conferred the subehdari on his second son, 
Akbar Shah, and the deputyship on Ladoji Deshmukh, 
Sindhia's son-in-law. Sindhia having made arrangements 
for the government of the province started for Delhi 
on 4 April. 

After the fall of Agra, Major Palmer wrote to the 
governor-general 5 : 

The fort of Aligarh, on the confines of the wazir's dominions and 
in the possession of the family of Afrasiab Khan, is now the only 
place of strength which is not under the power of Sindhia, and 
this place he will immediately proceed to attack. 

On his way from Agra to Delhi, Sindhia halted 
at Muttra and it was believed that he would remain 
there for some time in order to conclude the 
negotiations which he had started with the qiledar 
of Aligarh for the surrender of that fort 6 . This affair 
of Aligarh gave rise to what may be called a major 
crisis in +he relations between the nawab and Sindhia. 
Aligarh was situated at a distance of about forty miles 
from the Oudh frontier and the advance of Sindhia towards 
Aligarh alarmed the Lucknow sarkar. Moreover, Sir John 
Gumming, officer commanding the Company's troops at 
Anupshehr (25 miles from Aligarh with no natural barrier 
in between), thoroughly distrusted Sindhia and was 
convinced that his purpose in taking Aligarh was to 
prepare a base for a future attack on Oudh. The 
Calcutta Council wrote to Anderson, the Company's agent 
with Sindhia, that if he thought that Sindhia's stay at 
Muttra would be "productive of effects hostile to the 
wazir" he could "make a spirited representation to him 
in the name of the Calcutta government against his 

4 B.L. 23 letter in Secret Department 31 July 1785. 

5 B.S.C. April 1785 Palmer to GO 29 March. 

6 B.L. 23 letter in Secret Department 31 July 1785. 


encroachments." 7 In case that representation failed, 
Anderson was authorised to ask Col. Ironside (officer 
commanding at Cawnpore) and Gumming immediately to 
unite their forces and hold themselves in readiness to check 
the designs of Sindhia, "defending the territories of the 
wazir, and stirring up the Sikhs and the Moghul chiefs 
against him." But these steps were not to be taken until 
absolutely necessary. In the meantime all communications 
between Sindhia and important persons in Oudh, especially 
the Shahzada (the Emperor's son), were to be watched. 

Another problem in connection with Aligarh arose in 
the following manner. The widow and family of Afrasiab 
Khan had applied to the nawab for shelter in case they 
were displaced by Sindhia 8 . The nawab promised them 
asylum, and this was a matter to which Sindhia could 
legitimately take exception. But Palmer (Resident at 
Lucknow) suggested that the nawab was quite within his 
rights to give the promise as the members of the family of 
Afrasiab Khan were neither subjects nor servants of 
Sindhia. And even if they were so, Sindhia had himself 
set the precedent by giving asylum to Chait Singh in 
September 1781 when he had been driven out from Benares 
by Hastings y . Moreover, Sindhia had not always been very 
mindful of the nawab's dignity where his own interests 
were at stake. In fact, Palmer thought it would be better 
if the nawab exercised his rights oftener against Sindhia as 
too much forbearance on the nawab's part had led Sindhia 
to regard him with contempt. Besides, it would have been 
impossible for the nawab to refuse asylum to the family of 
Afrasiab Khan. They had at first applied to Gumming to 
occupy Aligarh in the name of the nawab or of the Com- 
pany and give them refuge 10 . Gumming not having the 
authority to comply with the request wrote to the Resident 
at lyUcknow. In the meantime the family got extremely 
urgent and threatened to leave the fort and come into the 
nawab's territory, without permission if necessary. Were 

7 B.L. 23 letter in Secret Department. 

8 B.S.C. 12 April 1785 Gumming to GO 29 March ; B.8.C. 9 April Palmer 
to GO 29 March. 

9 Chait Singh lived in Gwalior till his death on 29 March 1810. 
10 Camming to GO 29 March. 


they actually to do so, it would have been a very dishonour- 
able act to force them back, and they would not have gone 
unless forced. Gumming sent an express to Lucknow 

It is an established custom amongst Princes in Hindustan not to 
refuse asylum to the families of each other in distress. And 
Sindhia has sufficiently declared his own sentiments on this 
head by the refuge he afforded to Chait Sing in spite of all 
remonstrances of the late governor-general. 

Cumming's own impression was that Sindhia wanted to 
control a chain of forts along the frontier of Oudh, con- 
sisting of Ghausgarh, Jaitgarh, Aligarh, together with a num- 
ber of intermediate fortresses of inferior strength. On the 
nawab's side the entire frontier was defenceless and the 
tracts on the western bank of the Ganges belonging to 
Oudh were entirely at the mercy of Sindhia. The Ganges 
was f ordable at a hundred different places along the border 
of Rohilkhand during the dry season, and from the middle 
of December to June Rohilkhand, too, lay open to the 
Mahrattas. For these reasons Gumming thought that 
Aligarh had a special importance from the point of view of 
the defence of Oudh and was better not occupied by 
Sindhia u . He was annoyed at the apparent unconcern 
of the Resident and the lyucknow durbar who, he wrote, 
"seem to have no idea of the danger. They think of noth- 
ing but the Sikhs who are not worth a thought. " 12 The 
nawab desired Gumming to march back and on i April he 
actually started. At the end of the first day's march he 
received instructions from Palmer to stay at the frontier. 
Fearing that that might cause uneasiness in Sindhia's mind, 
Gumming was prepared to go back to Fathgarh, provided 
Sindhia recalled such troops as had already crossed the 
Jamuna and promised to take no further steps on the 
frontier 13 . But Anderson thought that it would have been 
inexpedient to make such a proposal to Sindhia for he 
would not have agreed to it. Mahadji had been for a very 

11 B.8.C. 12 April 1785 Gumming to Anderson 31 March: Gumming to 
GG 29 March. 

12 B.8.C. 19 April 1785 Palmer to GG 7 April. 

13 Gumming to Anderson 1 April; Gumming to Stibbert 2 April. 


long time looking forward to taking possession of Aligarh 
where he believed were hidden the treasures of the late 
nawab Afrasiab Khan, and other forts dependent upon it. 
He would not have given up the project unless the request 
to relinquish it was accompanied by threats of armed 
resistence which Anderson did not feel himself at liberty to 
offer. And then, the continued stay of Cumming's 
detachment on the frontier after the refusal of Sindhia 
would have clearly shown that the company was afraid of 
the Mahrattas, a fact which Anderson thought it was best 
to conceal 14 . 

Cumming's theory of a '*hain of forts" was more a 
product of his imagination than real ; and even if real, 
much importance could not be attached to it for none of 
these forts could have effectively withstood the British 
guns l5 . He was therefore instructed to take orders from 
the nawab as to his movements, except in cases of 
emergency when Anderson would instruct him 16 . But in 
the meantime Gumming had almost precipitated a crisis. 
He wrote a threatening letter to Anderson that unless 
the latter remonstrated with Sindhia against his operations 
on the Oudh frontier, or if Sindhia sent troops across the 
Jamuna, he [Gumming] "was determined to take part . . . 
with the whole force under [his] command." 17 Anderson 
wrote a stiff reply reminding Gumming that the Calcutta 
government had clearly indicated its intention of -avoiding a 
rupture with Sindhia, and if Gumming insisted on behaving in 
the way he threatened to do, he alone would be held respon- 
sible for the consequences 18 . This letter and the infor- 
mation that Sindhia had abandoned the idea of reducing 
the frontier fortresses, had stopped his troops from 
crossing the Jamuna and had marched towards Delhi 
by way of Muttra, made Gumming give up his aggressive 
attitude 19 . Thus was averted what might have developed 
into a very awkward situation. 

14 Anderson to dimming 5 April. 

15 Anderson to GO 5 April; GO to Anderson 19 April. 

16 GG to Gumming 19 April. 

17 B.S.C. 26 April 1785 Gumming to Anderson 8 April. 

18 Anderson to Gumming 10 April. 

19 Anderson to GG 12 April ; Gumming to GG 11 April 

5 33 

In fact, the English had no right to interfere in 
Sindhia's affairs unless he committed an act of open 
hostility against the Company or the nawab. Events 
proved that Cumming's fears were unfounded 30 . The 
governor-general and the commander-in-chief, as well as 
Palmer and Anderson, were convinced of that, and by 
the middle of April Gumming reluctantly gave up his 
fond idea of preventing Sindhia from taking Aligarh. He, 
however, continued to distrust Sindhia as much as ever 21 . 

Aligarh eventually fell into Sindhia's hands. Soon after 
the withdrawal of Gumming negotiations were started 
between Jahangir Khan, the qiledar of Aligarh, and 
Sindhia by which the latter seemed to be willing to leave 
the fort to the qiledar in exchange for a large sum of 
money 22 . The objective of Sindhia seems to have been 
the treasures said to have been hoarded by Afrasiab Khan 
and buried in the fort. Nothing came of these negotia- 
tions and Sindhia prepared to attack Aligarh but remained 
inactive owing to the presence of Gumming and his detach- 
ment so near Aligarh. He feared Cumming's interference 
and complained to Anderson that this forced inaction was 
causing him expensive delay. Anderson assured him that 
Gumming would not interfere, but as to the giving of 
asylum to Jahangir Khan, the nawab could not be forced 
to give up the refugee or his property. Jahangir Khan 
was a servant of the Emperor, and the nawab as the 
Emperor's wazir was expected to give him asylum. More- 
over, Sindhia and the Emperor had themselves set the 
precedent by giving asylum to Chait Singh and Sumroo 
respectively 33 . The matter was somewhat complicated 
because although Jahangir Khan was apparently in rebel- 
lion against the Emperor, and Sindhia as his agent had 
come to punish him, yet probably the Emperor himself 
secretly encouraged Jahangir Khan to hold out against 
Sindhia 24 . Gabriel Harper, who had succeeded Palmer as 

20 B.S.C. 11 October 1785 Anderson to GO 31 August. 

21 B.S.C. 13 May 1J85 Gumming to GO 9 May. 

22 B.S.C. 1 June 1785 Anderson to GG 16 May. 

23 BJS.C. 14 June 1785 same to same 26 May. 

24 B.S.C. 11 October 1785 arzi from Jahangir Khan to the Prince, 
received at Lpcknow 25 Sep. 1785. 


Resident at Lucknow on 13 July 1785, was of opinion 
that Sindhia should not have been allowed to take Aligarh, 
but the Calcutta government agreed with Anderson's view. 
Aligarh surrendered to Sindhia on 22 November 1785. 
He seemed to take little interest in the fort itself and was 
greatly disappointed in not finding the treasure he had 
expected to find there 25 . 

This success of Sindhia left a noticeable trace of fear in 
the minds of both the nawab and Harper 26 . The nawab 
had always suspected an alliance between Sindhia and the 
Sikhs directed against himself. x On this point the available 
evidences conflict. On the one hand, there is the case of a 
man who came to Calcutta, said to have been deputed by 
the Sikh sardars, and said that Sindhia had instigated the 
Sikhs to invade Rohilkhand holding out the nawab 's and 
the Company's territories as bait. On the other hand, 
when the Sikhs began their depredations in Rohilkhand, 
Sindhia invited the English to join him to suppress them 27 . 
The nawab, however, had such deep-rooted fear of a union 
of the Sikhs and Sindhia that early in February 1785 he 
sent a request to the English commander-in-chief that the 
whole of the Company's detachment in Oudh should march 
to the frontier 2S . After a short time both the Oudh 
sarkar and Gumming came to realize that such a combina- 
tion was hardly possible 29 . The alarm felt in I/ucknow 
was natural and somewhat justifiable, for negotiations were 
going on between Sindhia and the Sikhs which did result 
in a treaty. It was, however, only a defensive treaty not 
directed against either the nawab or the Company. In 
fact, by it 

Sindhia had virtually made himself responsible to the Company 
and the wazir for the peaceable behaviour of the Sikhs, since 
in the present state of their connections all their inroads must 
be supposed to be made with his knowledge and approbation ; 
the treaty may in this view be considered as advantageous to 
the Company and the wazir.* 

25 B.S.C. 1 Dec. 1785 Anderson to GG 24 Nov. 

26 B.S.C. 8 December 1785 Harper to GG 25 November. 

27 B.L. 23 letter in Secret Department 31 July 1785. 

28 B.S.C. 19 February 1785 Gumming to Stibbert 4 February. 

29 B.S.C. 9 April 1785 Gumming to C-in-C 9 March. 

30 B.S.C. 26 April Anderson to GG & Council 12 April. 


On being asked by Anderson about this treaty, 
Sindhia readily showed him the text of the draft and 
assured him that it was directed really against the Rajput 
chiefs of Jaipur and Jodhpur who had not for some time 
paid tribute to the Emperor. It specifically stated that the 
friends and enemies of each were the friends and enemies of 
the other. Therefore, as long as Sindhia's friendship with 
the Company and the nawab lasted, the non-hostility of 
the Sikhs was also guaranteed 31 . Anderson insisted on 
the specific mention of the English and the nawab as 
" friends " to which Sindhi^ readily agreed 3a . 

It could hardly be expected that the Sindhia-Sikh 
alliance would last long. Their common aim was nothing 
more constructive than plunder, and they had both 
conflicting claims on the pargana of Meerut 33 . There is 
ample evidence of their mutual distrust. Each had 
applied to the English for a secret treaty against the 
other 34 . Sindhia further showed his distrust of his allies 
by detaining in his camp Doolja Singh, the Sikh negotiator, 
until the treaty came back duly signed and sealed by 
all the Sikh sardars 35 . Since, however, Sindhia specifically 
mentioned the wazir and the English as friends in the 
treaty, they could both feel reasonably secure as long as 
friendship between Sindhia and the English lasted. 

The real point to decide then is whether Sindhia's 
assertions of friendship towards the Company (and the 
nawab) were sincere. It can only be conjectured what 
would have been Sindhia's attitude towards Oudh had 
it not been known that the English took an active interest 
in the defence of that country. But knowing the relation- 
ship between Oudh and the Company, Mahadji Sindhia 
was shrewd enough not to precipitate a breach without 
first making sure of success. Only once were the cordial 
relations between him and the English threatened, but 

31 B.S.C. 3 May 1785 Anderson to GG 14 April; alao the text of the 

32 B.S.C. 12 May 1785 An<*vraon to QG 28 April. 

33 B.S.C. 13 May. 1785 Anderson to GG 10 May. 

34 B.L. 23 secret letter 31 July 1785 ; letters from Sikh chiefs to Gumm- 
ing; Cumming's reply 13 May 1785. 

35 Anderson to GG and Council 16 May. 1785. 


lie made haste to make it up. It happened in April 1785 
when Sindhia on behalf of Shah Alam demanded from the 
nawab the Bengal tribute which had been discontinued by 
Warren Hastings. The Board had decided earlier in the 
month to recall Major Browne, the Company's agent with 
the Emperor, on the ground that Anderson (agent with 
Sindhia) being already there it was not necessary to keep 
another agent with the Emperor thereby duplicating 
expenses. When Browne took leave of the Emperor, he 
was asked to go by way of lyucknow and tell the nawab 
to pay up the Bengal tribute. Anderson also received a 
similar report of the interview and prepared to leave 
Sindhia's camp. Sindhia saw him, partly denied the 
report and partly explained it away. He in fact 
secured a shuqqa from the Emperor and a letter to the 
governor-general saying that he had had no such intention 
as Browne had made out, that he considered the nawab 
and the Company as his friends and that he had asked 
only for a petty sum which the nawab used to pay him. 
These letters reached Calcutta on 7 May 1785. The Board 
accepted the explanation and Anderson continued to stay 
at Sindhia's Court 36 . The magnitude of the crisis can be 
judged from two letters written by Haidar Beg Khan 
and the nawab, whose views were fully shared by Major 
Palmer 37 . The eagerness of the Oudh sarkar to go to war 
may also have been due to jealousy for certain honours that 
Shah Alam had lately bestowed upon Sindhia, and not due 
to policy 38 . 

Another factor which was very often responsible for 
show-downs between Sindhia and Oudh was the asylum- 
given by each to fugitives from the other's state. One of 
these cases occurred soon after the fall of Aligarh in 1785. 
A battalion of Sindhia's troops deserted with their arms 
and three guns and took refuge in the nawab's territory. 
Sindhia applied to Harper, Resident at Lucknow, for their 
delivery to him. Having ascertained that they had 
actually crossed the Ganges and had arrived near Bareilly, 

36 B.8.C. 12 May 1785. 

37 Palmer to QG 26 April 1785. 

38 B.8.C. 13 May 1785 Anderson to GO 8 May. 


Harper approached the nawab with Sindhia's request. The 
nawab gave lengthy explanations to the effect that the 
battalion with the arms in question had originally been in his 
service and had deserted at Etawah in 1779, 39 and had gone 
over first to Najaf Khan and then to Sindhia, that they 
had returned voluntarily without any encouragement from 
him because they had not received their pay from Sindhia 
for a long time and that the commandant of the 
battalion, Qalandar Sing, had not even applied to him for 
leave to enter his service. This last part is difficult to 
believe because unless the commandant had applied and 
got the nawab's permission, his entry into Bareilly with 
arms and guns should certainly have been interpreted as 
an act of hostility. The nawab had not the least desire to 
comply with Sindhia's request; in fact, he seemed very 
pleased with the whole affair. 

The nawab's attitude was opposed both to reason and 
his own interests. Although no formal treaty existed 
between him and Sindhia for the mutual restitution of 
fugitives, one virtually subsisted between two such powers 
not at war with each other, especially when they had the 
Company as a common ally. Nor did the nawab seem to 
have any illusions about the justice of his stand, for he 
did not even try to justify himself. He confessed that 
his action was a retaliation for similar acts done by Sindhia 
and others. He perhaps alluded to an incident of about 
a year ago, but then the case has been somewhat different. 
A number of soldiers had been regularly dismissed by the 
nawab. They took service under Sindhia and the nawab 
never demanded their return 40 . Possibly individuals often 
deserted from the nawab's army and joined Sindhia's, but 
that was a common occurrence in the armies of Hindustan. 
In the present case, had the nawab been sincere in his 
professions he should have punished the deserters on their 
return rather than welcome them as he had done. 

Anderson as a practical man left the question of right 
in doubt and suggested that cansiderations of interest 
should have induced the nawab to act differently. Sindhia 

39 B,S.C. 29 December 1785 Harper to GO 11 December. 

40 Anderson to GG 17 December. 


had some time ago suggested to him the conclusion of a 
definitive treaty for the mutual restitution of fugitives, 
which the nawab had refused. A treaty between the two 
was difficult to arrange, but this was a favourable oppor- 
tunity to negotiate one. The negotiations dragged on for 
months, the nawab showing no intention of complying 
with Sindhia's request which was supported by the Calcutta 
government 41 . Anderson was of opinion that the nawab's 
claim was "in the highest degree obsolete" and that he 
had been guided more by malice and jealousy than by 
any consideration of his rights. Harper on the other 
hand thought that the nawab had acted within his rights 42 . 
Anderson's seems to be the more correct reading pf the 
nawab's mind ; Harper certainly was prejudiced against 

Another typical case is that of Himmat Bahadur, the 
zamindar of a tract of land in the Doab situated along the 
banks of the Ganges from three coss below Anupshehr to 
about twenty coss downwards, including the fort of 
Jaitgarh 45 *. Sindhia had engaged not to disturb him in 
his possession, but owing to Himmat Bahadur's intrigues 
with the Sikhs and Rajputs against him, he decided to put 
him out of harm's way. Himmat Bahadur was at that 
time understood to be making overtures to the nawab 
against Sindhia 44 . To entertain favourably Himmat 
Bahadur's overtures would amount to an affront to 
Sindhia. By January 1786 Himmat Bahadur was obliged 
to deliver up much of his territory and his fate seemed 
sealed. He fled towards Oudh and made earnest solicita- 
tions to the nawab for protection 45 . Himmat Bahadur's 
brother Umrao Gir with some forces was said to have 
taken refuge with Almas Ali 4rt . Simultaneously with the 
flight of Himmat Bahadur and Umrao Gir had arisen 
certain disagreements between Sindhia and Anderson, due 

41 B.8.C. 22 March 1786 Harper to nawab-wazir 16 January ; nawab- 
wazir to Harper 6 February. 

42 B.S.C. 9 March 1786 Anderson to GO 15 February. 

43 B.S.C. 12 April 1785 dimming to GO 29 March. 

44 B.S.C. 13 May 1785 Anderson to GG 8 May. 

45 B.S.C. 8 February 1786 Anderson to GG 18 January ; Poona Residency 
Correspondence I 43. 

46 B.S.C. 9 March 1786 Anderson to GG 15 February ; P.R.C. I 44-6. 


to which the latter left Sindhia's camp. I^est the coinci- 
dence should be interpreted' to mean that the English 
had finally broken with Sindhia and were therefore 
giving protection to Himmat Bahadur, Anderson wrote 
to Harper to act in such a way as to dispel any 
such impression 47 . Himmat Bahadur had in the mean- 
time crossed the Jamuna with the intention of taking 
refuge with the nawab. He was followed by a large 
Mahratta force which was, however, instructed not to enter 
the nawab's territory 48 . Umrao Gir had defeated the 
Mahratta forces in an engagement, but he was not expected 
to hold out long and so he, too, was expected to cross 
the Ganges and seek shelter in Rohilkhand. Himmat 
Bahadur had with him the whole of his family and his 
effects, and about 2,000 cavalry and 22 pieces of ordnance. 
He had avoided all acts of hostility during his flight and 
having arrived at the bank of the Ganges waited for the 
nawab's permission to enter Oudh. He refused to join 
Umrao Gir who was collecting forces to fight the 
Mahrattas 49 . The nawab, under Harper's instructions, 
issued orders to all the ghats not to allow the brothers to 
enter Oudh 50 . The Calcutta government also expressed 
its desire that the wazir should not grant them protec- 
tion 51 , to which the nawab readily agreed 52 . In spite of 
all this, Sindhia could not be certain of the nawab sticking 
to his professed engagement 53 . He was perhaps right, 
because Himmat Bahadur did cross over into the nawab's 
territory and was given asylum. Sindhia's agent, Bhao 
Bakhshi, had a talk with Anderson about this and the 
latter assured the Bhao that Himmat Bahadur would not 
get any encouragement from the sarkar or the English, 
but he could not be delivered up. The Bhao then 
demanded the twenty-two odd pieces of cannon which 
Himmat Bahadur had taken with him and he was told 

47 B.8.C. 29 March 1786 Anderson to GO 2 and 15 March; P.R.C. 1 47-53. 

48 Harper to GG 1 March 1786 ; P.R.C. I 51-2. 

49 Harper to GG 28 March 1786, received at Calcutta 5 April 1786. 

50 P.R.C. I 51-2. 

51 Board's resolution, B.S.C. 29 March 1786. 

52 B.8.C. 24 April 1786. 

53 B.8.C. 4 April 1786 Anderson to GG. 


that if those guns did actually belong to the Emperor' or 
Sindhia they would be returned* 4 . Anderson's previous 
views had changed and he now thought that although no 
good could come of either Himmat Bahadur or XJmrao 
Gir's stay in Oudh, yet they should not be driven out. 
He suggested a camouflaged system 55 . The brothers 
eventually continued to stay in Oudh, and Umrao Gir 
from time to time tried to stir up a rising against Sindhia. 
The Calcutta government considered that it was absolutely 
necessary to maintain good relations between Sindhia and 
the nawab, as the Company would otherwise be inevitably 
drawn into a war. So Cornwallis wrote both to Harper 
and to Kirkpatrick (agent with Sindhia): 66 

Whenever any person, who may have agreed to receive pay from 
Sindhia, whether in his capacity as minister to the Shah or of a 
Mahratta chief, or anv aumil who may have entered into an 
engagement with him for some particular district, whether in his 
ancient dominions, or those of the Shah, of which he has assumed 
the management, shall elope from Sindhia and seek protection 
with the nawab, it should not be granted. .But if any Mussalman 
chief, etc., out of the dominions of Sindhia, who has never regularly 
taken service with him, or entered into any formal contract or en- 
gagement with him, in regard to his possessions, shall be forced to 
seek protection with the nawab, I think that it might be allowed, 
and no regard should be paid to any claims of Sindhia either on 
the ground of the fugitive's being a tributary of the Mahratta 
empire, or of his being a sergeant of the King, which are vague 
and general pleas, that may be used on all occasions. 

As to Himmat Bahadur, the governor-general wished 
that all intercourse between him and tiie nawab should 
cease, and that although he need not be expelled from 
Oudh, he should on no account be encouraged by the 
sarkar. Sindhia on the other hand was charged not to 
champion anyone's claims prejudicial to the interests of 
the nawab, however just those claims might have been 67 . 
The nawab acknowledged the need for maintaining good 
relations with his neighbours and accepted Cornwallis's 
suggestions, but very persistently declared his resent- 
ment against various insults which he thought Sindhia 
had offered him 6B . Harper observed "a propensity in the 

64 B.S.C. 23 June 1786 Anderson to GO 30 May. 

55 B.S.C. 31 May 1786 Anderson to Harper 5 May ; P. B.C. I 56-7. 

56 B.S.C. 24 January 1787 GO to Harper. 
67 ibid. 

58 Appendix to B.S.C. 26 Feb. 1787. 

$ 41 

wazir to encourage rather than avoid a dispute with the 
Mahrattas." The nawab called Sindhia "a man without 
faith and whose friendship existed on no other principle 
than convenience and fear." 59 Sindhia, too, accepted Corn- 
wallis's suggestions in respect to fugitives. He, however, 
claimed that Himmat Bahadur fell under the category 
which was required to be restituted, for he had received 
'mawajib' (a pay) from the Emperor and had held a 
'jaidad' (assignment for the payment of troops) under 
Sindhia in the character of retainer to the wakil mutlaq 
(Sindhia) 60 . Relieved for the moment, the tension between 
Sindhia and the wazir was, however, too deep-rooted to be 
removed altogether. 

In spite of his distrust and dislike of Sindhia, the nawab, 
following the advice of the Calcutta government, on various 
occasions acted in a conciliatory manner towards him. When 
in the middle of 1787 Sindhia was engaged in a war against 
the Rajput chiefs of Jaipur and Jodhpur, Umrao Gir tried 
to raise troops against him in Oudh. The nawab thereupon 
issued the following order to Umrao Gir 61 : 

It is known that you entertain troops and intend to attack the 
possessions of Sindhia. It has been repeatedly represented to 
you before that friendship subsists between Sindhia, the English 
gentlemen and myself. If it is your wish to remain in my 
dominions without disturbance or dispute, it is well ; and if you 
make any commotion, you will find no protection in my country 
and you will quit my dominion. If you stay in my territory, you 
must not vary from the line of conduct you have hitherto 

When Umrao Gir persisted in acting in violatiqn of 
the nawab's orders, a proclamation was issued on 26 
Zilhijah 1201 A.H. (9 September 1787) to the effect 
that Umrao Gir in defiance of the wazir's orders had 
tried to raise some disturbance against Sindhia and so 
had forfeited what claim he had to the wazir's protection, 
and in whatsoever district he or his children may be, 
the amil thereof should on finding him keep him in 
confinement to be punished by the government 62 . Towards 

59 BJ3.C. 26 Feb. 1787 Harper to Corawallia 14 Feb. 

60 BJ3.C. 13 Apr. 1787 Kirkpatrick to GG 30 May. 

61 BJ3.C. 28 Aug. 1787. 

62 BJ3.C. 27 Sep. 1787. 


November it was reported from Htawah that large numbers 
of men from Oudh, mostly soldiers discharged from the 
nawab's service, were gathering under Himmat Bahadur 
for action against Sindhia. Ives, Resident at I/ucknow 
from i October 1787, protested, but the minister pointed 
out that it was very difficult to check private unemployed 
individuals who sought adventure 63 . Cornwallis agreed 
with the minister 64 . Early in 1788 Sindhia requested the 
nawab to help the qiledar of Aligarh with men and money, 
claiming that since many men from Oudh had joined 
Ghulam Qadir Khan who had laid siege to Aligarh, the 
nawab was morally bound to assist in its defence 65 . The 
nawab refused on the ground that they, too, were private 
adventurers. He had already taken exceptional measures 
in regard to Himmat Bahadur, and had remons- 
trated strongly with Fyzullah Khan (Nawab of Rampur, 
tributory to Oudh) for his nephews having joined Ghulam 
Qadir. Beyond that he would observe strict neutrality 66 . 
With this the governor-general entirely concurred 67 . 

The affair of Himmat Bahadur again came into 
prominence towards the latter half of 1789. Sindhia 
accused Himmat Bahadur of making attempts on his life 
by black magic ! He therefore requested the nawab that 
Himmat Bahadur or any mertiber of his family should not 
be allowed to live in Oudh. The nawab in consequence 
issued orders to Almas to secure any property of Himmat 
Bahadur which might be in Oudh. Almas had allowed 
Himmat Bahadur's wife to stay in Shahjahanpur and 
Haidar Beg inquired if Almas should be instructed to 
order her away. Although according to Cornwallis's letter 
of 5 May 1788 no protection was to be given to any 
member of Himmat Bahadur's family, yet to send his 
wife away at Sindhia's requisition would give Sindhia 
an opportunity of accusing the nawab of having allowed 
her to carry away with her all her husband's property 68 . 

63 B.8.C. 20 Nov. 1787. 

64 B.8.G. 14 Deo. 1787 Cornwallis to Ives 14 Nov. 

65 Palmer to Ives 22 Jan. 1788. 

66 Ivea to Palmer 5 Feb. 1788. 

67 B.S.C. 13 Feb. 1788 Cornwallis to Ives. 

68 B.S.C. 12 Aug. 1789 Ives to GO 30 July. 


Cdrnwallis, however, repeated his previous order adding 
that if it was thought at I^ucknow inadvisable to hand 
over their person and property to Sindhia, they should be 
sent outside the nawab's dominions and left to their fate 09 . 
The Resident was given to understand that they were 
accordingly sent out of Oudh 70 , but it was found later 
that they were still there and Haidar Beg on being asked 
to explain said that it was Almas's doing. Johnstone 
(acting Resident) was of opinion that Haidar Beg though 
not actually conniving with Almas, nevertheless had been 
guilty of his usual slackness. The minister then promised 
that the family would be sent away within a week 71 . 
Umrao Gir who still remained in Oudh and from time to 
time collected troops for service against Sindhia, was 
also finally expelled by the end of I79O 72 . 

There occurred various similar cases all of which ended 
sooner or later in the same way. Whatever the nawab's 
attitude towards fugitives, he ultimately acquiesced in 
Sindhia's request, undoubtedly owing to the pressure 
brought to bear upon him by the Calcutta government. 
Never were matters allowed to come to a head. Sindhia 
always desisted from open hostility, for fear of the English, 
but persisted in urging his point and almost every time 
the wazir ultimately yielded. 

Another source of bickerings between Oudh and Sindhia 
was the question of pilgrim taxes. Certain important 
places of Hindu pilgrimage were situated within the wazir's 
territory, e.g. Ayodhia, Benares, Allahabad, and the road 
to Gaya from western India lay through Oudh. All pilgrims 
had to pay pilgrim taxes at those places and were sometimes 
charged excessively and ill-treated by the nawab's officers. 
Sindhia protested against such treatment and early in 
January 1787 sent a memorial to the nawab which, among 
other things, pleaded for indulgence to the Mahratta pilgrims 
to Allahabad, Benares, Gaya, etc. 78 . Thesarkar did nothing 

69 B.8.C. 2 Sep. 1789 GO to Ives 31 Aug. 

70 B.S.C. 2 Oct. 1789 Ives to GG 23 Sep. 

71 B.8.C. 18 Nov. 1789 Johnstone to GG 4 Nov. 

72 B.P.C. 15 Deo. 1790 Ives to GG 6 Dec. 

73 BJ9.C. 24 January 1787. 


and in April 1789 Sindhia complained to the govtfhof- 
general that Mahratta pilgrims at those places had been 
subjected to excessive taxes 7 4 . The governor-general made in- 
quiries 75 and Haider Beg assured the Resident that the nawab 
did not intend to exact more than the customary dues 76 . 
He made further inquiries as to what had been collected 
and how much had been remitted in favour of the Mahrattas 
at Allahabad. The scale of tax had not been regular and 
sometimes the pilgrims got even complete remission. 
It was agreed that it was desirable to have a regular scale. 
The nawab issued on n July 1789 ashuqqa which declared: 77 

It was now usual for him, contrary to former practice, to Rive 
dastaks of exemption from duties to such of the Deccan Sardars 
as applied for them, that there had accordingly been granted, 
from the month of May to this time, dastaks of exemption for 
thousands from whom his Excellency's officers had not levied 
anything and that with respect to those who come to perform 

their ablutions without a dastak the officers at Allahabad 

are strictly enjoined to collect no more from them than is autho- 
rised by old established usage, and that they in fact exact no more. 

On inquiry it was found that at one time all pilgrims had 
been exempted from the taxes; hence the realisation of even 
the usual dues was interpreted by some as unjust. This 
universal exemption which had lasted for several years had 
been granted out of benevolence by the nawab to all pilgrims 
to the Magh mela, but not at other times of the year, nor 
was the concession confined to the Mahrattas. The pilgrim 
tax was an old custom always submitted to by Mahrattas 
and everybody else 78 . The details of the taxes were not 
given until June 1790. The table submitted then showed 
considerable reductions made by the wazir 79 , the last 
two items given below being typical: 

Former To be charged 

duties Remissions in future 

Total at all seasons 

except Magh Rs. 152-6 87-14 64-8 

TotalinMagh Rs. 215-7-6 122-7 93-0-6 

Grand Total Rs. 367-13-6 210-5 157-8-6 

74 B.8.C. 29 April 1787. 

75 GG to lyes 27 May 1789. 

76 B.S.C. 19 Jane 1789 Ives to QG 11 June. 

77 B.S.C. 5 August 1789. 

78 Ires to GG 18 July 1789. 

79 B.P.C. 7 July 1790 Ira to GO 24 June. 


nawab refused to grant indiscriminate remissions in 
future; that privilege was to be confined to a limited num- 
ber of men of high rank. The governor-general expressed 
satisfaction at the reductions and asked the wazir to 
make the new scale public when the pilgrim season began. 
He himself wrote to the Mahratta chiefs Sindhia, the 
Peshwa and Holkar asking them to be considerate and 
moderate in asking for remissions in future 80 . Thus the 
matter was settled more to the satisfaction of Sindhia 
than the nawab. 

A point on which the nawab was very sensitive wks 
Sindhia's relation with the Emperor. Although the Emperor 
was in fact powerless, yet theoretically his authority was 
unimpaired in Hindustan. The honours bestowed by him 
were still coveted by provincial chiefs as they vested them 
with theoretical rights which they could exercise to their 
advantage. But while the English looked upon the practical 
side of the qeustion, the nawab was perhaps more concerned 
with the prestige attached to the Royal titles. Since 
1771 the Emperor had been for the most of the time in the 
power of Sindhia who on i May 1785 had the title of 'naib 
mukhtiyar' (deputy regent) bestowed upon himself 81 . It 
enabled him to exercise the patronage belonging to the 
Emperor and to carry out his own programme of conquest in 
the Emperor's name. This naturally gave rise to alarm in 

Another thing that made the nawab suspicious of Sindhia 
was the latter's constant attempts to induce Prince Jawan 
Bakht (the Emperor's son) who resided in Lucknow to come 
over to his camp. The Prince with his father's permission 
had come to stay in Oudh and was given a house in lyucknow 
and a pension of Rs. 25,000 per month 88 . He, as the heir- 
apparent to the Empire, was another emblem of authority 
in Hindustan and Sindhia wanted to have him too under 
control. But both the Calcutta government and the nawab 
were strongly opposed to that. The governor-general wrote 

80 GO to Ives. 

81 Chronology given by Sir Jadunath Sarkar in P. B.C. I. 

82 BJ3.C. 24 Nov. 1786 Anderson to GO 19 Oct. ; P.R.C. I 83413. 

83 Ghnlam All, op. tit. 146., 

4 6 

to Palmer on i April 1785 that the Prince should be Kept 
away from Sindhia* 4 . The Prince remained in Oudh. till his 
death on i June 1788, at first on very friendly terms with 
the nawab, but later subject even to grave insults. After 
his death his place was taken by the next in succession, 
his brother Mirza Haji or Prince Sulaiman Shikoh, who 
arrived in Lucknow unexpectedly on 19 April 1789 and 
asked the nawab for asylum. The possible complications 
attending his stay in Lucknow were various 85 , but he 
insisted on stajdng 86 and was ultimately given the necessary 
permission under certain conditions 87 . He like his brother 
was given a house and a pension by the wazir 88 . 

Sindhia was suspicious of the nawab's attitude towards 
the neighbouring Rajput rajas of Jaipur and Jodhpur. 
Mild flirtations used to be carried on between Lucknow and 
the Rajput chiefs, and Sindhia's intelligence department 
had several times intercepted letters passing between them. 
In 1786, when Sindhia was engaged in a war with the rajas 
of Jaipur and Jodhpur, the nawab's indiscretions in this 
respect gave Sindhia a tangible cause of complaint, 1 but 
the matter never assumed serious dimensions and Sindhia 
did not go beyond protesting 8 *. 

Whatever the nawab's real feelings may have been 
towards Mahadji Sindhia, his action was invariably deter- 
mined by the Calcutta gevernment. He had no foreign 
policy in the sense Shujauddaula had Had. Asafuddaula 
told Harper 90 in 1787 that 

so long as he continued in friendship with the English nation, he 
was not solicitous to maintain an intercourse with other states, 
particularly with the Mahrattas, with whom he had much 
cause to be offended in many instances. 

The Calcutta government was avowedly on friendly terms 
with Sindhia, until at least the arrival of Wellesley, and it 
wished to remain so. It was convinced of Sindhia's deter- 
mination to remain friendly with the English and, therefore, 

84 B.8.C. 10 April 1785. 

85 B.S.C. 2 Oct. 1789 Ivea to GG 22 Sep. ; GO to Ivee. 

86 B.P.C. 3 June 1789. 

87 B.P.G. 28 and 28 July 1790. 

88 Gbnlam All, op. ctt. 146. 

89 BJ9.C. 31 May 1786 Anderson to GO 19 May ; P.R.C. I 65-66. 

90 BJB.C. 2 May 1787 Harper to GG 14 April. 


with the nawab 91 in spite of Sindhia's distrust of the latter 03 . 
Cornwallis, when he arrived in India, was somewhat doubtful 
of Sindhia's integrity 93 , but later on he was converted to the 
contrary view and stressed the necessity for the nawab 
maintaining cordial relations with Sindhia 94 . To ensure this . 
cordiality Himmat Bahadur was expelled from Oudh, the 
pilgrim taxes were reduced, and Sindhia was from time 
to time granted large or small concessions. Towards the 
end of 1786, Appa Khande Rao, a Mahratta captain, found 
himself in trouble while engaged against Ghulam Qadir 
Khan (nawab of Saharanpur). Sindhia requested the 
nawab to let Appa retreat through Oudh. The nawab 
was prevailed upon to grant the request 95 . Once or twice 
when the nawab refused to grant similar concessions he 
only did so with the approval of the governor-general 96 . 

Soon after the departure of Cornwallis from India Mahadji 
Sindhia died (February 1794). It was feared that the dis- 
turbed state of Gwalior after Mahadji's death would result 
in aggression upon Oudh, but nothing happened 97 . Daulat 
Rao Succeeded Mahadji and no material changes were made 
in the Gwalior durbar. Bhao Bakhshi, Sindhia's minister, 
gave emphatic assurances that Mkhadji's policy of friendship 
towards the English and their friends would be continued 
under Daulat Rao "without the smallest difference" 9JJ . 

(') The Sikhs 

Of the neighbours of Oudh the next in importance to the 
Mahrattas were the Sikhs. Warren Hastings in 1784 wrote 
that Sindhia was the only considerable power which could 
possibly threaten Oudh. He mentioned also the Sikhs 
who as a rising power were likely to become a menace to the 
country. The beginning of the year 1785 seemed to be one 
of Sikh and Mahratta scare. The danger was perhaps less 

91 B.8.C. 25 Mar. 1785 Palmer to GG 15 Mar. 

92 BJ3.0. 22 Aug. 1786 Anderson to GG 5 July. 

93 Cornwallis to Harper 27 Sept. 1786. 

94 Cornwall* to Ires 27 May 1789. 

95 BJB.O. 22 December 1786. 

96 GG to lyes 20 June 1788. 

97 B.P.G. 19 May 1794. 

98 B.P.C. 28 May 1794 Bhao Bakhahi to GG and Council, received 16 April 


real than apparent. Reports came from various sources 
in January that the Sikhs had entered Rohilkhand and 
plundered the town of Chandausi and its neighbourhood". 
In view of the Sikh menace to Rohilkhand, the nawab 
on 30 January made requisition for a detachment from 
Fathgarh to march to the frontier 100 . Colonel Sir John 
Gumming, commanding officer of the Fathgarh detachment, 
accordingly ordered Colonel Knudson on the morning of 
i February to march towards Anupshehr with two regiments 
of sepoys and four six-pounders, instructing him to keep 
the detachment constantly on the move on the western side 
of the Ganges. Maj.-Gen. Stibbert, commander-in-chief, 
suggested that the eastern side of the Ganges would be a 
better position for a patrolling detachment to take. He 
also suggested that the rissala of cavalry could be better 
employed in patrol work than at the headquarters 101 . 

On 4 February Gumming received information from Maj. 
William Palmer that the nawab and his ministers feared 
a combination between the Sikhs and Sindhia and that 
therefore they wanted the whole of the Fathgarh detachment 
to march to the frontier 102 . Gumming did not consider 
such a combination likely, but he received information from 
his intelligence department that large bodies of Sikhs had 
appeared on the frontier, and so he approved of putting 
.the whole detachment in motion. He requested the nawab 
to send two battalions of his sepoys to Fathgarh to guard 
the magazine, cantonments and the city of Farrukhabad 
during the absence of his detachment. The exact number 
and the real strength of the Sikhs was a matter of much 
speculation. In the beginning they were considered rather 
formidable. The commander-in-chief was of opinion that 
Colonel Knudson's detachment and the remaining forces 
at Fathgarh were sufficient to repel any attack by the Sikhs, 
but not if they were joined by the forces of Sindhia. He 
therefore suggested that the brigade at Cawnpore should 

99* B.S.C. 16 February 1785 Browne to GG 22 and 24 Jan. ; B.S.C. 15 
February GG to Gumming 6 February. 

100 B.S.C. 19 February 1785 Gumming to Stibbert 31 January. 

101 Stibbert to Gumming 13 February. 

102 B.S.C. 19 February 1785 Gumming to Stibbert 4 Feb. ; B.S.C. 1 Mar, 
1785 Browne to GG 9 Feb. and enclosures. 

7 49 

move towards Etawah 103 . He, too, however, did not 
expect Sindhia so readily to join the unorganised Sikh 
marauders, especially against an ally of the Company while 
there was an English Resident at his camp. 

Gumming intended to march on 12 February to the 
frontier to join Knudson with two regiments of sepoys, 
the rissala of cavalry, and the artillery, leaving one regiment 
behind until the arrival of the nawab's sepoys under Captain 
Frith, when that regiment would also join the rest of the 
detachment. He however thought that there was "little 
foundation for his Excellency's apprehension for the safety 
of his country." 104 Still he approved of the movement of 
the troops as a demonstration which would serve as a 
preventive in case there did exist any real cause for appre- 
hension. Palmer seems to have held the same view 105 . 
He wrote: 

The late predatory incursions of the Seiks [Sikhs] has been 
more discreditable than injurious to the wazir's government; 
there has certainly been neglect in the aumil of Rohilcund, and 
the wazir pays for a force in that country more than adequate 
to its protection against such a despicable banditti as the Seiks ; 
and the ghauts should have been properly guarded as soon as 
the river became fordable. The depredations made by the 
freebooters fall upon individuals, and can in no shape 
affect the public revenues. They retreated across the Ganges 
on the first approach of the wazir's troops and although they 
are now assembled to the number as is reported of 20,000 
on the western shore of the Ganges, I have no apprehension 
of their making another attempt to penetrate into the wazir's* 
dominions as Sir J. Gumming detached two regiments on the 
2nd inst. to Anoopshire and was to follow with his whole 
force on the 12th. 

He too thought a junction between the Sikhs and Sindliia 
unlikely, but approved of the movement of the troops to 
the frontier. That and the solemn disavowal of Sindhia 
given to Anderson of having excited the Sikhs to ravage 
Oudh, thought Palmer, were sufficient assurances against 
Sindhia's hostility. The Sikhs retired on the first appear- 
ance of the nawab's troops, without too much booty, nor 
did they since attempt to disturb the nawab's dominions. 
On the contrary, their chief who was at this time with a 

103 B.S.C. 19 Feb. 1785 Stibbert to GO 16 Feb. 

104 B.8.C. I March 1785 Gumming to GO 11 February. 

105 B.S.C. 8 March 1785 Palmer to GO 13 February. 


body of men near the Oudh frontier on the western side of 
the Ganges, wrote to the amil of Rohilkhand that the 
late incursion was an act unauthorised by and offensive 
to their state. The greater part of the freebooters retired 
across the Jamuna on the approach of Knudson's detachment; 
those who remained in the Doab would not dare give him 
any pretext for attacking them. Their purpose was to 
levy the tribute upon the country of the late Zabita 
Khan 106 . On 24 February Palmer wrote to the governor- 
general that the Sikhs had entirely evacuated the frontier, 
and that "everything within them is in a state of tranquility 
without the least appearance of further disturbance or 
obstruction in the collections" 107 . The nawab, now assured 
of the security of his frontier, recommended Cumming's 
return to Fathgarh with the main body of his detachment 
leaving Knudson with two regiments at Anupshehr until 
the rise of the river made the passage of the enemy 
impossible, which would be early in April. On 8 March 
Hasan Raza Khan and Haidar Beg Khan wrote to the 
governor-general making light of the Sikh disturbance 108 . 

Cumming complained against the attitude of the nawab 
and his officers 109 . He said that the reports about the Sikh 
invasion were true, and that they had plundered Chandausi 
and parts of Moradabad and Sumbal. They had arrived 
up to the bank of the Ganges near Anupshehr, "but all the 
officers of the wazir's government maintained the strictest 
silence on the subject of their approach as well as of their 
crossing and subsequent depredations/' Having received 
information from his messengers of the advance of the Sikhs 
he had kept Knudson with two regiments and some artillery 
in readiness expecting every day a requisition from the nawab, 
but it did not come until ten days later, followed shortly 
after by a requisition for the whole detachment. He com- 
plained of the dilatoriness of the sarkar and his own lack 
of authority to exercise his discretion. He could not even 
suggest a move merely on the report of private agents unless 

106 Palmer to GG 21 February. 

107 B.S.C. 8 March 1786. 

108 ibid. 

109 B.S.C. 22 March 1785 Cumming to GG 23 and 27 Feb. 


he Was asked by the sarkar. "I am bound to execute but 
not entitled to advise/' he complained. "While the motion 
of the troops depend entirely on orders from Lucknow, 
these orders will generally arrive too late." He did not 
think the Sikh incursion to have been serious, but, he said, 
in case there did exist any real danger, he would in future 
take matters in his own hands without waiting for instructions 
from lyucknbw. If he had had his way, he continued, he 
would have marched to the frontier as early as December 
1784, and then even the little looting that the Sikhs indulged 
in would not have been possible. He further complained 
of the reluctance of the amil of Rohilkhand to enter into the 
details of the actual damage done by the Sikhs, there being 
a tendency on the part of the amil to minimise the extent 
of the damages. The reason for the nawab's reluctance to 
call upon him early was in the opinion of Gumming "a wish 
to convince the Board, and perhaps the country in general, 
that his own forces were equal to the defence of the western 
frontier." Gumming repeats however his conviction in 
the neutrality at least of Sindhia 110 . When he received 
the nawab's order to return to Fathgarh with the main body 
of the troops, he made a representation of the unadvisability 
of such a step, urging the necessity for keeping the whole 
detachment on the frontier till at least 12 April, and 
Knudson's detachment till 25 April. The Sikhs who had 
plundered Rohilkhand were then at Ghausgarh (in Saharan- 
pur), 35 coss from Anupshehr, and the rabi harvest, upon 
which the collections chiefly depended, would soon begin. 
The frontier to be defended was more than 140 miles long 
and only two regiments were insufficient for the patrolling 
of such a long line at such an important season. Moreover, 
whatever the real dangers, such sudden changes of plan were 
likely to make the inhabitants uneasy and "stamp upon the 
mind of 'the neighbours the fluctuating counsels of the 
wazir's council." 

As to the probability of there really existing a com- 
bination between the Sikfis and Sindhia, Anderson wrote 

110 Also see B.S.C. 9 April 1785 Gumming to Stibbert from Anupshehr 
9 March. ^ 


to Palmer that he was convinced of the sincerity of SindHia's 
assertion of his determination to keep his engagements with 
the English and their allies; and although the growth of 
Sindhia's power should naturally lead to uneasiness in Luck- 
now, yet, bethought, there was no real cause for alarm 111 . 
Convinced of the friendliness of Sindhia, and in order to keep 
him engaged in fighting the Sikhs, Gumming offered to help 
him against the Sikhs 113 . But the commander-in-chief 
disapproved of this, although he agreed with Cumming 
that the longer Sindhia and the Sikhs were occupied with 
each other, the better it was for Oudh, and that Cumming 
should stay on at the frontier till at least the end of April 113 . 
The Board agreed with the commander-in-chief and wrote 
to Cumming prohibiting him from giving effect to his 
promise to Sindhia, should the occasion arise, and that he 
was not to march back to Fathgarh until the rise of the 
river 114 . 

Towards the middle of April a strong rumour of a Sikh- 
Mahratta alliance again got currency. Cumming got the 
information that the Sikhs had promised not to exact rakhi 
(kind qf blackmail) from the Imperial territories so long as 
Sindhia kept them in Imperial service, and that this rumour 
was causing the nawab some alarm 115 . On the other hand, 
a man was dispatched to Cumming from the Sikh sardars, 
who told him that the Sikhs had been encouraged by Sindhia 
to commit the depredations in Rohilkhand. Cumming 
did not believe him, but that man promised to bring him 
a declaration to that effect under the seals of all the Sikh 
sardars 116 . The Sikhs assembled between Panipat and 
Delhi numbered some 30,000 men and there was a strong 
desire amongst them to ally themselves with the nawab 
and the English against Sindhia 117 . These two conflicting 

111 B.8.C. 25 March 1785 Palmer to GG 15 March. 

112 B.8.C. 9 April 1785 Cumming to Stibbert 18 March; B.S.C. 12 April 
Gumming to GG 27 and 29 March. Upon the assurance of Cumming 
the Mahrattas attacked the Sikhs, killed some, and drove the rest 
beyond Panipat, taking some prisoners. 

113 B.S.C. 9 April 1785 Stibbert to GG 4 April. 

114 GG to Cumming 9 April. 

115 B.S.C. 26 April 1785 Cumming to GG 11 April; B.S.C. 26 May Ander- 
son to GG 10 May. 

116 Cumming to GG 4 May. 

117 ibid 


informations at least show that there could have existed 
no real unity between Sindhia and the Sikhs. A treaty had 
no doubt been concluded between the Sikhs and Sindhia, 
but it has already been seen that it was to the advantage 
rather than otherwise to Oudh. Cumming favoured an 
alliance with the Sikhs for he thoroughly distrusted Sindhia. 

The Sikhs are heard of again in December 1786 when 
they fought a smart engagement against the Mahrattas 
on the Oudh frontier and defeated them. The nawab's 
troops and the Company's Oudh contingent under Knudson 
kept themselves in readiness in case Oudh was attacked, 118 
but no attack took place. The Sikhs were similarly heard 
of almost every dry season of having assembled in numbers 
varying from a few to forty thousand 119 . They sometimes 
even crossed into Oudh and looted a few villages, but the 
peril was never serious. They generally fled at the sight 
of a few of the nawab's troops. In July 1786 the governor- 
general appointed George Forster at Lucknow to investi- 
gate into the magnitude of the Sikh menace to Oudh, and to 
negotiate an alliance with them and the Company if pos- 
sible 120 . Forster's letters between November 1786 and 
August 1787 show the following facts: 

Firstly, that the Sikhs, fearful of Sindhia and Ghulam 
Qadir, keenly desired an alliance with the Company, but 
Cornwallis refused to treat with them 121 . Secondly, the 
three powers, Mahrattas, Sikhs, and Ghulam Qadir, were 
so engrossed in watching one another that none had the time 
to pay any attention to the nawab's Doab provinces, even 
when the Ganges was fordable 122 . Thirdly, if the Sikhs 
wished they could easily attack Rohilkhand, 123 but that it 
was in the hands of Almas, the most efficient and powerful 
of the nawab's amils, capable of warding off the danger 124 . 
Lastly, the Sikhs sometimes harassed the semi-independent 

118 B.S.C. 8 Jan. 1787 Harper to GO 22 December 1786. 

119 BJ3.C. 27 November 1787 Ives to GG 5 Nov. ; B.P.C. 8 Feb. 1792 
Ives to GG 27 Jan. ; B.S.C. 23 March Ives to GG 12 March; B.P.C. 
9 Nov. Ivee to GG 30 Oct. 

120 P.R.C. I 156-7 Macpherson to Forster 19 July 1786. 

121 P. B.C. I NOB. 98, 94. 

122 ibid Nos. 97, 99, 100, 101, 102. 

123 ibid No. 95. 

124 ibid No. 97. 


Raja of Anupshehr, technically under Oudh, not with kny 
hostile intentions towards the nawab, but to realise certain 
stipulated dues. The raja had some time promised to 
pay as rakhi (a levy like the Mahratta chauth, but much 
less, being 5 to 10 per cent, of the revenue) a sum of 
Rs. 2,000 annually, in two instalments 125 . 

(Hi) Ghulam Qadir Khan 

Towards the end of 1797 a new factor became active 
on the Oudh frontier. This was Ghulam Qadir Khan 
Rohilla, son of Zabita Khan, nawab of Saharanpur, whose 
capital was at Ghausgarh. He had been granted certain 
districts by the Emperor, which were very much intermixed 
with the nawab's districts in the Doab. The nawab received 
in October 1787 six shuqqas from the Emperor asking him 
to reduce Ghulam Qadir who had rebelled 126 . The nawab 
immediately ordered these shuqqas to be forwarded to 
Cornwallis asking for instructions 127 . Intelligence was 
received in March 1788 that Ghulam Qadir was negotiating 
an alliance with the Sikhs and that the latter were on the 
point of passing through Oudh territory to join him, 128 
but these informations remained unconfirmed 129 . Troops 
were, however, marched to the frontier as a precautionery 

Ghulam Qadir succeeded for a very brief period in secur- 
ing possession of Delhi. He seized the person of the Emperor, 
deposed him on i August 1788 and raised Prince Bedar 
Bakht, son of Ahmad Shah, to the throne. The rightful 
heir, Prince Sulaiman Shikoh, was kept in confinement 
with the members of the royal family. Later, Ghulam 
Qadir put out the eyes of the old Emperor. This revolution 
in Delhi alarmed the Oudh sarkar, where it was believed 
that Ghulam Qadir was aiming at the wizarat. Palmer wrote 
that a dress of honour was being prepared apparently 
for Ghulam Qadir. In case he secured the title of wazir, 

125 ibid No. 96. 

126 B.S.C. 28 Nov. 1787. 

127 Haidar Beg to Cornwallis received 17 Oct. 1787. 

128 B.S.C. 17 March 1788 Ives to GO 7 March. 

129 B.S.C. 31 March 1788 Ives to GO 21 March. 


what was Asaf uddaula to do ? If he accepted the change 
it would be a blow to his prestige; if he did not, he would 
be in rebellion against the Emperor. Sindhia was expected 
to apply to the nawab for help to reduce Ghulam Qadir. 
Cornwallis reminded the Resident of the Act of Parliament 
which prohibited the Company from participating in Indian 
wars 130 . Presumably that Act was also to determine the 
attitude of the Oudh sarkar. In September Sindhia actually 
made such an application and the governor-general advised 
the nawab strongly against joining him 131 . The nawab 
received similar applications from Ismail Beg, a Moghul 
chief, Mirza Bahadur, son of Ahmad Shah, and the rajas 
of Jaipur and Jodhpur, but the Calcutta government said 
that no notice should be taken of them 132 . Ghulam Qadir, 
however, did not get a chance to do more mischief, for his 
cruelties soon aroused great opposition even among his own 
followers, and he was obliged to go into hiding 133 . He was 
finally captured and put to death by Sindhia. 

(iv) The Afghan Peril 

Until about the end of 1792 another bogey periodically 
alarmed Oudh. From time to time Timur Shah, son of the 
famous Ahmad Shah Durrani, was reported to be advancing 
upon India with the purpose of conquering it either for 
himself or in order to re-establish Shah Alam to his former 
glory. Although he never came even very far into the 
Punjab, the alarm he caused was serious, e.g. when in Decem- 
ber 1785 it was reported that he was advancing towards 
Kashmir, some merchants deserted Delhi and went south 134 . 
The intention of Timur Shah to march towards Delhi was 
almost universally believed in Delhi where the camp always 
buzzed with rumours 136 . After some time the possibility 
seemed more remote although rumours continued, and on 
17 March 1786, Harper wrote to the governor-general: 

130 B.S.C. 27 Aug. 1788 Cornwallis to Ives. 

131 B.8.C. 15 Sep. 1788 Cornwallis to nawab-wazir 10 Sept. ; B.S.C. 6 Oct. 
1788 Cornwallis to Ives 4 Oct. 

132 B.S.C. 15 October 1788. 

133 B.S.C. 2 January 1789 Ives to GG 23 December 1788, 

134 P.R.C. I 36-7 Anderson to GG 21 December 1785. 

135 ibid 37-8 Anderson to GG 31 December 1785. 


"A thousand rumours have prevailed of his [Timur Shah] 
intentions of advancing to Delhi, but as I judged them to 
have little or no foundation, I have seldom written to you 
on the subject." 13 * In July Timur Shah was reported to 
have gone back to Kandahar leaving his army at Peshawar, 
for reasons not known 137 . 

The rumour again went round in September-October 
I788 138 and various different reports about the Shah were 
received, e.g. he had the design of placing his son Mirza 
Humayun on the throne of Hindustan 139 , that he had con- 
cluded an alliance with the Rajputs for whose assistance 
he had dispatched 24,000 cavalry 140 , and so on. In Decem- 
ber he was reported to have crossed the Attock 141 , "25 coss 
on the other side of Multan." The nawab received a shuqqa 
from the Shah dated 5 Safar (5 November 1788) requiring 
his assistance to reinstate Shah Alam, or, in the event of 
his death his heir, to the throne of Hindustan 142 . Cornwallis 
wrote to the Shah that Shah Alam had already been restored 
and thus the firman had been anticipated 143 . On the other 
hand, a man named Ghulam Muhammad Khan, said to be 
the agent of Timur Shah, declared at Lucknow that the 
Shah had no designs upon Hindustan 144 , and in fact Timur 
Shah never came beyond "25 coss on the other side of 

About the middle of 1791 the probability of an invasion 
by Timur Shah was again rumoured, but this time even the 
timid Haidar Beg Khan thought it highly improbable. 
For if he moved so far from his kingdom, there would be 
every probability of a revolution breaking out there in favour 
of his brother whom he had kept in confinement, and in whose 
favour a revolution had actually broken out on a previous 
occasion of his absence on an expedition 145 . At this time 

136 ibid 5L2. 

137 B.S.C. 29 July 1786 Harper to GO 4 July. 

138 B.8.C. 8 October 1788. 

139 BJS.C. 28 January 1789 Ives to GO 18 January. 

140 B.8.C. 25 February 1789 Ives to GO 17 February. 

141 The Indus near Attook is locally called the Attock. 

142 B.S.O. 19 January 1789 Ives to GO 9 January. 

143 B.S.C. 26 January 1789. 

144 Ives to GG 16 January. 

145 B.P.C. 12 August 1791 Ives to GG 30 July. 

8 57 

a dumber of men appeared at different courts of India 
saying that they came from Timur Shah and presented 
firmans and khilats. It is not known how many of them 
' were genuine agents of the Shah 146 . In March 1792 when 
the Shah defeated the Sikhs in the north and captured the 
fort of Rohtas, rumours arose that he had assigned that fort 
and 10,000 cavalry to Prince Ahsan Bakht (a son of Shah 
Alam who resided in Kabul) for the purpose of driving 
the Mahrattas back to the Deccan, and that the Prince 
with that force had arrived at Peshawar. The Resident 
at Lucknow did not attach much credit to the report 147 . 

In June 1792 came the news of the death of Timur Shah, 
which was confirmed in July 148 . The bogey of Afghan 
invasion was not revived until towards the closing years of 
Shore's and the early years of Wellesley's governor-general- 
ship, when Zaman Shah, son of Timur Shah, threatened 
the north-western horizon of Hindustan. 

Zainan Shah became the king of Kabul in May 1793, 
some time after the death of his father. Ghulam Sarwar, 
a man from Lucknow deputed by Cornwallis to report on 
the affairs of Kabul, gives an interesting account of the imme- 
diate disturbances there and the battles Zaman Shah had had 
to fight on his accession 149 . From that time to the middle 
of 1796 he was perhaps too busy establishing himself on 
the throne to think of an invasion of India. During late 
summer of 1796 reports reached India of his intended inva- 
sion. They were vague and contradictory, but "it seemed 
nearly certain that he would move with a very considerable 
force as far as the Punjab". 150 His objective would presu- 
mably have been Delhi. The Resident with Sindhia was 
of opinion that in order to reach Delhi he would have 
had first to contend with the Sikhs who, although not 
likely to come to terms with him, did not consider themselves 
strong enough to put up an effective resistance. Some 
of them proposed a junction with the Mahrattas to resist 

146 B.P.C. 5 October 1791 ; B.P.C. 8 February 1792 Ives to GG 27 Jan. 

147 B.P.C. 23 March 1792. 

148 B.P.C. 2 August 1792 Ives to GG 23 July. 

149 B.P.C. 18 Nov. 1793 Paper of Intelligence from Ghulam Sarwar. 15 
Muharram 1207 A.H. 

150 B.P.O. 8 October 1796 Lumsden to Shore 28 Sept. 


him 151 . T^he Oudh sarkar was alarmed, for it feared that 
a section of the Rohilla Afghans and Farrukhabad Pathans 
would cause trouble in Oudh if the Shah came as far as 
Delhi, though the greater part of them and all Oudh subjects 
were expected to remain loyal to the nawab 152 . According 
to Shore's instructions of 5 September to Lumsden, the 
combined forces of Oudh and the Company were to be assem- 
bled at Kanauj and the fort of Allahabad was to be garri- 
sonned by British troops, if the threatened invasion actually 
took place. But he did not believe it would 153 . In fact 
there was not enough ground to conclude that the dreaded 
invasion was imminent. Zaman Shah had not himself 
left Kabul although it was popularly believed that a large 
detachment of his troops had assembled on the western 
side of the Indus and were preparing to throw bridges of 
boats across the river to cross into Multan 154 . 

Various conflicting reports, some of them very alarming, 
kept pouring in from Amritsar, Lahore, Patiala, Bahawal- 
pur and other places, and by the end of January 1797, the 
nawab made elaborate arrangements enabling him to put 
5,200 cavalry and n battalions of infantry of 1,000 each, 
with sufficient draft animals, and a train of artillery in the 
field along with Company's brigades in Oudh 155 . But then 
reports were received that Zaman Shah had returned to 
Afghanistan 156 . During the course of this panic Shore 
tried his best to persuade the nawab to place the fort of 
Allahabad in the hands of the British, assuring him that it 
would be evacuated as soon as the danger had passed, 
but the nawab straightaway refused. He was so touchy 
on this point that Shore told the Resident to give up the 
attempt for the time being 157 . Letters from Sheikh Rahim 
Ali, who had been deputed from Lucknow to Kabul, dated 
5, 9 and 27 Shawaal, and one from Ghanshyam Das, news- 

151 ibid. 

152 ibid. 

153 B.P.C. 17 October 1796 GG's minute. 

154 Palmer to Lumsden 4 October 1796. He was taking this unorthodox 
route, it was said, in order to avoid the Sikhs on his way to Delhi. 

155 B.P.C. 24 February 1797 Lumsden to GG 20 and 22 Jan. 

156 Lumsden to GG 28 January; B.P.C. 6 March GG to Provincial Com- 
mander, Bengal Army 18 Feb. 

157 B.8.& P.C. 13 January 1797 ; B.P.C. 6 March. 


writer at Patiala, dated 27 Zilqada show that the Shah's 
invasion of India depended upon the security of his position 
in Afghanistan 158 . Ghulam Sarwar, who returned from 
Kabul in February 1795, submitted a lengthy but excellent 
report on the state of affairs in Kabul 159 . In the opinion 
of Shore "it contains the best procurable account of the 
dominion, forces, revenues, and character of Zaman Shah." 
The following narrative relating to Zaman Shah is based 
almost entirely on Ghulam Sarwar's report. 

Zaman Shah's dominions were extensive, about 1,600 
miles by 1,000. The revenues according to official accounts 
amounted to Rs. 2,71,78,400 per annum. His forces consist- 
ed of 36,750 established troops diffused throughout the 
kingdom, 9,780 slaves and 24,800 standing with himself, 
a total of 71,330. His artillery consisted of 26 large pieces 
and 896 small swivel-guns mounted on camels. With good 
care the force was capable of considerable augmentation. 
Zaman Shah was one of 19 brothers and had not succeeded 
to the throne without opposition. Besides his brothers 
there were many jagirdars whose loyalty he could not rely 
on. Most of his brothers were in prison, but the few that 
remained outside were capable of raising enough trouble. 
Principal among them were, Shah Mahmud, regent of 
Herat; residing with him was another brother Firuzuddin; 
and lastly, Shahzada Humayun who had taken refuge with 
Nasr Khan Baloch, a.jagirdar almost independent of the 
Shah, holding the country to the south of Kandahar yield- 
ing a revenue of 34 lakhs of rupees. 

Zaman Shah's relations with his neighbours were not 
cordial. His principal neighbours were the "King of 
Turan", the King of Persia, and his brother, the regent 
of Herat. The "King of Turan" was Abul Ghazi Khan, 
nominal king of a part of Turkistan, with his capital at 
Bokhara, the real power being in the hands of his wazir 
Shah Murad. He had had a quarrel with Timur Shah on 
the ground of their rival claims to Balkh and some other 
places. Although the dispute had been settled by a treaty, 
Zaman Shah was in constant fear of that power. Shah 

158 B.P.C. 26 June 1797. 

159 B.8. d> P.C. 1 July 1797. 

Murad was an ambitious and powerful man, a good soldier, 
and, in Ghulam Sarwar's opinion, with a good treasury 
was capable of defeating Zaman Shah. Muhammad Khan 
Qachar, King of Persia, also was ambitious and powerful, 
a natural source of apprehension for the King of Kabul. 
Shah Mahmud, regent of Herat, was in correspondence with 
Shah Murad and probably with Muhammad Khan Qachar, 
either with designs of the conquest of Kabul or for his own 
protection from Zaman Shah. Though less powerful than 
either Zaman Shah or Shah Murad, he could not be neglected. 

Zaman Shah was addicted to pleasure, anxious to collect 
wealth, avaricious, haughty, and intelligent, and possessed 
foresight, caution and economy. But, according to Ghulam 
Sarwar, he had neither the ambition nor the energy of his 
father. His object and occupation were the establishment 
of his authority over his paternal dominions and their 
regulation. He was connected with the Emperor of Delhi 
by the marriage of his father with a sister of Shah Alam, 
and a son of the latter, Prince Ahsan Bakht, had resided 
in Kabul for a long time as a pensioner of the Afghan King. 

Shore believed that Zaman Shah would not invade India, 
and that if he did, he could not succeed. The reasons he 
gives are as follows : 160 Afghan invasions had been rumoured 
almost annually for about 20 years of which only a feW 
actually took place and none advanced far beyond northern 
Punjab. Zaman Shah had undoubtedly occupied Lahore 
early in 1797, but the odds against his coming further were 
heavy. In the first place there were the numerous and 
warlike Sikhs in the Punjab, between Kabul and Delhi. 
There was no likelihood of the Shah's coming to terms with 
them, nor could any reliance be placed on them even if an 
understanding was arrived at. Although they might not 
have successfully checked his advance, they could have caused 
trouble in the rear when the Shah had advanced upon Delhi, 
by cutting oft communications between him and his home. 
Then, after the Sikhs, there were the Mahrattas to contend 
with. What inducements could the Shah have to undertake 
such a risky expedition, ? The plunder of Delhi, much 

160 B.S. & P.C. 1 July 1797 governor-general's minute. 

Impoverished in . 1797, could not afford compensation 
adequate to the risk and expenses of attempting it. Re-esta- 
blishing Shah Alam to the ancient glories of the Moghul Empire 
was only a romantic and unprofitable dream, also imprudent 
unless the Sikhs were first effectually subdued. The same 
arguments prevailed against a permanent conquest of Hindus- 
tan; with his forces as they were in 1797, Zaman Shah 
could not hold it for long. Subsequent events show how 
correct Shore had been 161 . After sifting all the informations 
received (to be found scattered throughout the Public 
and Secret Consultations from the middle of 1796 to the 
middle of 1798) Shore arrived at the following conclusions: 
It had taken the Shah nearly a month to march from 
Attock to Lahore despite the fact that he had not met with 
any serious opposition. The accounts of his forces varied, 
the most probable one being a detailed list of his troops 
collected at Lahore cavalry 32,30x3; infantry 1,400; 800 
camels carrying small guns and 40 cavalry cannons, the 
artillery being under a Frenchman long in his service. The 
conduct of the Shah at Lahore had been at first mild and 
conciliatory, but later his troops committed great excesses. 
The Shah demanded a contribution of 5^ lakhs from the 
city of which only about half was realised. During his stay 
at Lahore he sent out only two expeditions, the first of about 
1,000 horse sent against Amritsar returned without making 
any impression; the second was sent against Sheikhpura, 
about 20 miles from Lahore, and though reinforced later, 
returned unsuccessful. Zaman Shah remained in Lahore 
for about a month and then returned to Kabul by rapid 
marches on receiving the news that his brother Shah Mahmud 
had attacked Kandahar. Some reports stated that that was 
only a pretext, and that in fact his army was disaffected. 
Later reports show that on his return he had actually to 
reconquer Kandahar and Kabul. In the expedition of 1797 
the army of Zaman Shah was undoubtedly inadequate for 
conquering and retaining Hindustan or for re-establishing 
the authority of Shah Alam. He had not negotiated with 
the Rajput chiefs hostile to the Mahrattas. If the Punjab 

161 Chapter VII. 


had been his objective, he had prosecuted it without vigour 
and relinquished it precipitately. No forces remained behind 
him except a detachment of 5,000 in Rohtas, which had been 
taken by Timur Shah, reinforced by another 5,000; but 
this force was defeated very soon after by the Sikhs and the 
Afghan commandant killed. 

In view of the above facts, Shore concluded that an 
invasion of Hindustan by Zaman Shah was far from probable. 
He goes on to picture the probable consequence of the 
Shah's invading Delhi. Had he advanced upon Delhi 
immediately after taking Lahore, he could have easily done 
so. The Sikhs were disunited, the Mahrattas alarmed 
and unprepared. But the latter gradually mustered a very 
respectable army and made overtures to the Company to 
unite with them, which the Company would in all probabi- 
lity have agreed to. This force would have been a very 
serious menace to the Shah. On his arrival at Delhi he would 
have been joined by numerous adventurers in Hindustan, 
e.g. Bumbu Khan, brother of Ghulam Qadir Khan, who had 
actually collected some men under the pretext that he had 
received orders from the Shah to do so. Some Rampur 
Rohillas and Farrukhabad Pathans also might have seized 
this opportunity to rebel. But all these would have been 
unreliable allies. The Rajput chiefs would have availed 
themselves of this opportunity to shake off the Mahratta 
yoke, perhaps without joining Zaman Shah. Oudh depended 
solely upon the Company for defence and would have been 
kept out of the broil. Of the Oudh army only those under 
Almas were respectable, the rest more likely to prove a burden 
rather than of any real assistance. There were rumours 
that some men of rank in I^ucknow had sent out invitations 
to the Shah, but of this Shore could not discover the least 
evidence and so he totally desbelieved them. Nor could he 
discover any foundation for the rumour of the Shah's acting 
in concert with Tipu and the French. 

As to the future designs of Zaman Shah, Ghulam Sarwar's 
opinion was that he had the desire of invading Hindustan, 
but that it would have been very difficult to do so owing 
to the hostility of his brothers and their patrons, Muha- 
mmad Khan Qacher, Shah Murad and Nasr Khan Baloch, 


and the insufficiency of his forces and resources. His 
probable objects were the establishment of Ahsan Bakht 
on the throne of Delhi and realisation of a tribute from India. 
The first might have been accomplished easily, but in order 
to ensure the permanence of the new Emperor, he would 
have had either to stay himself at Delhi or leave a 
considerable force there, at least for a very long time. 
But both these were quite improbable. 

Palmer communicated from Delhi a report from a man 
connected with Kabul which said that Zaman Shah did 
intend to invade Hindustan. Similar was the popular 
belief, especially among the Muslims, perhaps because it 
conformed with their wish, viz,, release from the over- 
lordship of the Mahrattas. But Shore did not believe in 
these reports or rumours, for reasons given above 162 . So 
much so that he did not think any elaborate or expensive 
defensive measures necessary, not even a specific defensive 
alliance with the Mahrattas. For the time being, he thought, 
it would be quite sufficient if the Residents at lyucknow and 
with Sindhia and the Oudh ministers kept their eyes 

A letter from Sheikh Rahim Ali dated Kabul 2 Zulhija 
I2ii A.H. (May 1797) reported that Zaman Shah had under- 
taken an expedition to Kandahar, and that affairs there 
were such that there was no probability of his undertaking 
an Indian expedition that year 163 . Sir Alured Clarke, 
the British commander-in-chief , after considering the matter 
over did not think an Afghan invasion probable. He thought 
that even if it did take place, the Company's army in Oudh 
numbering (in 1797) 12,541 would be quite enough to cope 
with the emergency 164 . On i November 1797, Lumsden 
wrote to the governor-general: ''All recent accounts* from 
the westward concur in stating the improbability that 
Zaman Shah can undertake any expedition into Hindustan 
this year" 165 . The Afghan peril is heard of again with Lord 
Mornington's assumption of the governor-generalship at 

162 B.S. d> P.O. 7 July 1797 GG'u minute. 

163 B.8. df P.C. 21 Aug. 1797. 

164 B.S. d> P.C. 9 Oct. 1797 minute of commander-in-chief. 
166 B.S. & P.C. 4 Deo. 1797. 


Calcutta. It had serious consequences for Oudh as will be 
seen in a later chapter. 

(v) Rampur 

Enclosed within Oudh was the state of Rampur which 
from time to time caused trouble to Oudh in which the 
Company's government and the Resident had to mediate. 
Rampur was inhabited by Rohilla Afghans famed for their 
fighting qualities. Since 1774 its ruler had been Faizullah 
Khan who had been given by Shujauddaula after the war 
that year the country of Rampur and some other districts 
dependent upon it yielding a total revenue of Rs. 14,75,000 
a year. The settlement was arrived at by the treaty of I^al 
Dang (Rajab 1188 A.H. or October 1774) between Shujaud- 
daula and Faizullah, which was witnessed by the English 
commandant, Col. Champion 166 . By this treaty Faizullah 
was given the above mentioned territories (not specified by 
name except Rampur) under the following conditions: that 
he would not maintain a force of more than 5,000 men; 
that he would have no connection with any person other 
than Shujauddaula and would hold correspondence with 
none except the English; he was required to send two or 
three thousand men, according to his ability, to join Shujaud- 
daula's forces when the latter waged war against anyone, 
and personally to lead a part of the army, if Shujauddaula 
went to war in person. This treaty remained in force until 
14 Rabi I 1197 A.H. (17 February 1783) when Asafuddaula 
agreed to remit the obligation of the nawab of Rampur to 
supply troops occasionally to the nawab-wazir, in exchange 
of a payment of 15 lakhs of rupees by Faizullah Khan. 
This amendment was made under English guarantee 167 . 

Since 1783 the relations between Oudh and Rampur 
were generally governed by the amended treaty of I^al 
Dang, but disagreements sometimes arose owing to various 
reasons. Sometimes the amils of the nawab-wazir in the 
districts bordering on Rampur would ill-treat Rampur 
subjects, 168 or Oudh subjects would be ill-treated by Rampur 

166 Aitchiaon C.U. Treaties and Sanads II (1930 ed.) 25-26. 

167 ibid 22-27. 

168 B.8.C. 8 Jan. 1787 Harper to Comwailia 22 December 1786. 

9 65 

officials. But these were common occurrences in India 
in those days and were never regarded as serious. 
The Resident at lyucknow found it necessary constantly 
to remind the nawab and his ministers that the English 
had guaranteed the treaty and could not allow the disregard 
of it by either party 169 . 

In 1789 a serious difference took place between Oudh 
and Rampur 170 . The origin of this lay in another frontier 
of Oudh, viz. Kumaun and Nepal. Mohan Chand, the raja 
of Almora, had been killed by a rival chief Harick Deo Joshi. 
I^all Singh and Mohinder Singh, brother and son of Mohan 
Chand, defeated Joshi in May 1789 and regained Almora. Joshi 
was on friendly terms with Oudh and took refuge in Rohil- 
khand. lyall Singh, in course of his campaign against Joshi, 
had ravaged certain villages in the district of Kashipur 
in the nawab's territory and Mehdi Ali Khan, the amil 
of Bareilly, was dispatched by the wazir's orders towards 
Kashipur with the ostensible purpose of guarding against 
further incursions by I/all Singh. Haidar Beg complained 
to Ives in about April 1789 that Faizullah had given refuge 
to certain Rohillas who had come away from Ghulam Qadir's 
territory and had sent them to help lyall Singh, and that he 
maintained a force of more than 5,000 men, all of which 
were in contravention of the existing treaties 171 . Pending 
Haidar Beg's submitting the complaints in writing, Ives 
made inquiries from Roshan Rai, the wakil of Faizullah 
in lyucknow, who informed 172 that when the nawab-wazir 
had gone on a hunting excursion the preceding year 
towards the Nepal frontier, the late Raja Mohan Chand 
and lyall Singh had paid him the customary homage, had 
been honoured by him and had obtained from him a written 
order to Faizullah to apprehend their enemy Harick Deo 
Joshi. Since then, Joshi having killed Mohan Chand 
and occupied Almora, lyall Singh, etc., had taken refuge 
first at Nanakmati in the wazir's dominion and later in Ram- 
pur, and claimed Faizullah's assistance in conformity with 

169 ibid. 

170 B.P.C. 2 July 1790. 

171 B.S.C. 12 Jun. 1789 Ives to Cornwall!* 15 May. 

172 ibid. 


the wazir's order, but that he had declined. They left 
Rampur and went to Rudderpur, in the wazir's dominion, 
and there they tried to raise troops to employ against Joshi. 
They had taken with them Bhola Singh, a jamadar fromMura- 
dabad with 500 piadas, Daljit Singh and Bhawani Singh 
with 1,500 young men from the neighbourhood of Kohna 
and Kashipur, Azam and Subhan, Afghans, with 400 piadas 
from Nanakmati, all in the wazir's territories, but no jamadar 
or risaldars in Faizullah/s service had joined them. As 
to the Rohilla refugees from Ghulam Qadir's territory, 
the wazir's country lay between Saharanpur and Rampur 
and all the ghats were in the hands of the wazir's officers, 
and it was they alone who could put a stop to their coming. 
Anyway, Faizullah was not aware of any such refugees 
having come from Saharanpur. The wakil admitted that 
a few had come, but they were from Muradabad, Sambal 
and Amroha, all in the wazir's dominions. Haidar Beg 
and Mehdi Ali then brought further charges against Faiz- 
ullah, that he had sent his nephew Mustafa Khan to assist 
Lall Singh and so on, and they seemed eager to go to help 
Joshi. But Ives told them that the nawab could not with 
propriety interfere in the matter, at least not until he had 
consulted the governor-general 173 . 

Cornwallis approved of Faizullah's conduct in general 
and did not wish to encourage the nawab against him, 
but he censured the former for having taken part in the 
affairs of the hill rajas, especially for letting his nephew 
Mustafa Khan openly to join Lall Singh 17i . On this point, 
however, the nawab could not later complain, for Mustafa 
Khan was afterwards received at I^ucknow through the 
influence of Raja Puran Chand, a favourite of Asafud- 
daula 175 . As a fact, Mustafa Khan so far succeeded in 
ingratiating himself with the nawab that the latter ordered 
Faizullah to continue to pay to Mustafa his usual allowance 
at lyucknow 176 . Faizullah refused as by the terms of the 
treaties the nawab had no right to make such demands 

173 ibid. Also Ives to Cornwallis 27 May 1789 

174 B.8.C. 2 Sep. 1789 Cornwallis to Ives 31 Aug. 

175 B.S.C. 2 Oct. 1789 Ives to Cornwallis 23 Sep. 

176 5.P.<7.6Aug.l790 Ives to Cornwallis 25 July; B.P.C. 3 Sep. 1790 
Faizullah to GO reed. 11 Aug. 


and represented that the wazir should not encottf age such 
behaviour of a member of his family. The nawab was 
irritated at this refusal and forbade the appearance of 
the Rampur wakil at his Court. He requested Ives also 
not to see Roshan Rai, but Ives protested considering 
the nawab to be in the wrong 177 . 

During September-October 1790 the position became 
threatening. The nawab went towards Rampur, osten- 
sibly on a hunting expedition, but with a large artillery, 
and ^Faizullah in alarm started collecting men and arms, 
ostensibly by way of usual annual muster 178 . Haidar 
Beg complained to Ives that Faizullah had not sent a son 
to meet the nawab and pay him his respects as was the 
custom 179 . On being asked why the nawab had carried 
so much artillery, "he smiled and said that it was His 
Excellency's disposition to be pleased with anything now 
and that he having had no opportunity of trying the 
guns [Cornwallis] had sent him up, he had taken them as 
playthings" 180 . In the meantime Faizullah wrote a very 
proper letter to the nawab expressing his attachment and 
fidelity to him, and Hidar Beg induced the latter to send 
a suitably gracious reply 181 . Soon after Faizullah sent 
a son to the nawab to pay his respects and everything 
seemed to be at the point of settlement 182 . In May 1791 
the raja of Nepal defeated I,all Singh and his supporters, 
and called Joshi to his service 183 . P A aizullah had been receiv- 
ing friendly letters from the raja of Nepal all of which he 
sent unopened to the nawab. He received similar letters 
from another hill chief, the raja of Srinagar (a small state 
bordering on Kumaon and Nepal), who feared an attack 
from the raja of Nepal, and these letters too he dealt with 
in the same way 184 . The Company's government approved 

177 Ives to Cornwallis 25 July. 

178 B.P.G. 8 Oct. 1790 Ives to GG 30 Sep. ; B.P.C. 22 Oct. 1790 Ivea to 
GG 13 Oct. 

179 B.P.C. 27 Oct. 1790 Ivea to GG 17 Oct. 

180 B.P.C. 29 Oct. 1790 Ives to Cornwallis 21 Oct. 

181 ibid. 

182 B.P.C. 14 Nov. 1790 Ives to Cornwallis 15 Nov. ' 

183 B.P.C. 25 May 1791 

184 B.P.C. 15 June 1791. 


of his conduct 185 and got an order issued to him from the 
nawab not to have any connection with either Nepal or 
Srinagar 186 . Thus through the mediation of the Company 
was averted a crisis which might have resulted in a war 
in which there was no certainty that the nawab would 
have come out successful, for Faizullah was a capable ruler 
over a vigorous race of warriors, the Rohilla Afghans, and 
the Oudh forces had by this time degenerated practically 
to the point of uselessness 187 . 

In 1794, following the death of Faizullah Khan a war 
actually took place between the two states. Faizullah 
died on 17 July 1794. His eldest son Muhammad Ali 
Khan succeeded him at the head of the administration. 
His brothers, seven in number, and other Rohilla chiefs 
acknowledged him as the new nawab. The nawab-wazir 
also seemed to have accepted him as the rightful heir and 
to entertain no hostile designs against him 188 . On the 
night of 22 July, Tikait Rai, the nawab's diwan told the 
Resident that Faizullah had held Rampur as a jagir, that 
he had held more land than was given him by the treaty 
of I/al Dang (the grant having been worth Rs. 14,75,000, 
while the actual holding had been worth Rs. 30 lakhs), 
that he had not adhered to the terms of the treaty having 
given shelter to fugitives, and had maintained a force of 
over 5,000 men, etc. 189 . This definitely shows that the 
nawab was contemplating to realise something out of the 
Rampur succession, and Tikait Rai was trying to gauge 
Calcutta's attitude. Cherry pointed out that the word 
'jagir' was not mentioned in the treaty and that no bound- 
aries had been defined. In his opinion Rampur had been 
purchased by Faizullah, for it apreared that after the 
defeat of Hafiz Rahmat Khan, Faizullah was about to 
retire with the treasures of Hafiz Rahmat, but Shujaud- 
daula had offered him the possession of Rampur and some 
other districts in exchange for half the treasures, which 

185 Minute of Stuart (Senior Member of the Council). 

186 B.P.C. 22 July 1790 Ives to GO 10 July, 

187 See Chapter III. 

188 B.P.C. 1 August 1794 Cherry to GG 21 July. 

189 Same to Same 23 July. 


offer Faizullah had accepted 190 . Asafuddaula now applied 
to the governor-general for advice in this matter. A 
perusal of the relevant papers, 181 especially called for by 
the governor-general, leads to the conclusion that no in- 
ference of perpetuity in favour of Faizullah's family could 
be drawn from the text of the engagements, still less from 
the firman making the grant to Faizullah, where it was 
expressly stated as 'jagir', a tenure, by established usage, 
not to extend beyond the life of the jagirdar 192 . On this 
ground Shore advised that the nawab should regrant 
Rampur to Muhammad Ali Khan on payment of a small 
nazrana and a reasonable annual tribute. 

But before this could be done, a revolution occurred 
in Rampur. Ghulam Muhammad Khan, a brother of 
Muhammad Ali Khan, attacked the latter, wounded him 
and put him in prison (where he ultimately died on 20 August, 
perhaps shot by Ghulam Muhammad Khan) and assumed 
the government of Rampur 193 . The nawab- wazir expres- 
sed his pleasure at the fate of Muhammad Ali! 194 But the 
act of Ghulam Muhammad was technically an act of re- 
bellion against the nawab-wazir, who as lord paramount 
had recognised Muhammad Ali and alone possessed the 
right to punish Ghulam Muhammad and confiscate his 
land and property according to the usage in India. To 
recognize Ghulam Muhammad would have been a disgrace 
for him. Moreover, the character of Ghulam Muhammad 
was not such as to engender hopes of continued peaceful 
behaviour from him. 

Ghulam Muhammad tried to popularise himself in 
Rampur by distributing money 195 and to win the nawab's 
favour through his favourite Raja Jhko Lai 196 . Tikait 
Rai, however, assured Cherry that the nawab would not 
take any step without first consulting the governor-gene- 
ral 197 . The governor-general advised that Ghulam Muhammad 

190 ibid. 

191 B.P.C. 11 August 1794 pp. 319-370. 

192 B.P.C. 15 August 1790 Shore to Cherry 13 Aug. 

193 B.P.C. 28 August 1794 Cherry to GO 15 Aug. 

194 Cherry to GG 16 Aug. 

195 B.P.C. I September 1794 Cherry to GG 22 Aug. 

196 B.P.C. 28 August 1794 Cherry to GG 16 Aug. 

197 Cherry to GG 17 Aug. 


should be expelled from Rampur with the least 'pos- 
sible delay, 198 because (a) by the immorality of this act 
he had deserved exemplary punishment; (b) it would be a 
disgrace for the nawab to allow such a violation of his 
authority to go unpunished; .and (c) the disgrace would 
be reflected upon the Company as the ally of the nawab 
by giving rise to a popular belief that the Company dared 
not punish rebels, and this might lead to future troubles. 
Shore recommended that the nawab after expelling Ghulam 
Muhammad should confer the jagir upon a son of Faizullah, 
who gave definite proofs of attachment to him, on the same 
terms as the grant to Faizullah Khan had been made. 

On 9 September, Tikait Rai informed Cherry that the 
nawab intended, subject to the governor-general's ap- 
proval, to attach Rampur to the sarkar and grant a pension 
to all members of Faizullah's family except Ghulam Mu- 
hammad. He suggested also that if a son of Faizullah 
was to be maintained as jagirdar, Ghulam Muhammad 
might as well be the person 199 . Cherry pointed out that 
it was necessary to punish a rebel, and that to leave the 
jagir in Faizullah's family would result in several advantages 
to the nawab, viz. a handsome nazrana, perhaps an an- 
nual tribute, and the retention of the services of an undoubt- 
edly efficient family 200 . These suggestions were not very 
welcome to the nawab or his ministers who were aiming 
at the annexation of Rampur and getting possession of 
the treasures of Faizullah Khan, which they feared Ghulam 
Muhammad might abscond with. After some hesitation 
the nawab agreed to adopt the plan suggested by the 
governor-general and on i October 1794 issued a shuqqa 
to Cherry which declared that "Ghulam Muhammad Khan, 
having committed acts repugnant to divine and human 
laws . . . the measure of his expulsion is befitting a power- 
ful ruler and is highly politic and necessary" 201 . In the 
meantime Ghulam Muhammad had made a representation 
to the governor-general offering his allegiance and 15 lakhs 

198 Governor-general's minute and letter to Cherry 28 Aug. 

199 B.P.C. 22 Sep. 1794 Cherry to GO 10 Sep. 

200 ibid. 

201 B.P.C. 3 Oct. 1794. 


of rupees in return for an English guarantee to a proposed 
treaty between him and the nawab; but the governor- 
general thought that no answer need be given to it 2ca . 
Proclamations, composed by the governor-general, were 
issued to the sons of Faizullah and other Rohilla sardars 203 
giving reasons for the nawab's declaration of war, and 
mobilization took place. An attempt had been made to 
bring about Ghulam Muhammad's retirement without 
resorting to arms, by impressing upon him that owing 
to the close connection between the nawab and the Company 
he stood no chance of success, but he refused to give up 
the jagir. He offered money and allegiance in return 
for his recognition as jagirdar, but the governor-general 
would have none of it 2 " 4 . The Cawnpore brigade started 
for Fathgarh on i October to join the brigade there and 
the two brigades advanced upon Rampur. The nawab 
dispatched to Bareilly four battalions, two from Almas's 
forces reported to be very well equipped and trained, and 
two from Hasan Raza Khan's said to be as good 205 . The 
nawab desired to march in person and requested the com- 
mander-in-chief to meet him near Fathgarh 306 . Ghulam 
Muhammad offered to come to Lucknow under the Company's 
protection to offer submission to the nawab 207 . Cherry 
encouraged him in this and sent him a permit of travel 
to lyucknow under the nawab's seal 208 . For this he was 
censured by the governor-general who feared that if 
Ghulam Muhammad got a chance of meeting the nawab, 
he would succeed in making up with him 309 . Ghulam 
Muhammad, however,, could not avail himself of this 
opportunity as he was by that time practically a prisoner 
in Rampur, and his adherents would not allow him to 
leave the place 210 . The battle between the Rohillas and 
the Company's army took place at Katra on the morning 

202 ibid. 

203 B.P.C. 10 Oct 1794. 

204 Cherry to Aberprombie 23 Sep. 

205 B.P.C. 17 Oct.' 1794 Cherry to GG 4 Oct. 

206 Nawab to Cherry 2 Oct. 

207 Ghulam Muhammad to Cherry reed. 4 Oct. 

208 Cherry to Ghulam Muhammad 7 Oct. 

209 Shore to Cherry 16 Oct. 

210 Intelligence from Rampur 6-8 Oct. 


of 27 October 1794, in which the former were decisively 
beaten and Sir Robert Abercrombie took 15 pieces of 
cannon 211 . The Company's losses were: Europeans, killed 
57 including 10 officers, and wounded 39 of which five 
were officers; Indians, killed 295, wounded 237 and missing 
six 812 . Ghulam Muhammad at first fled to Rehr, but on 
6 November 1794 delivered himself up to Abercrombie 213 . 
Abercrombie issued a proclamation to the other sons and 
relatives of Faizullah that jagirs would be granted them 
for their maintenance with proper dignity. The sardars 
at first replied that their chief Ghulam Muhammad only 
had the authority to negotiate terms with anyone, 214 but 
on Ghulam Muhammad's writing to Nasruallah Khan, 
the head of the family in the former's absence, asking him 
to give credit to the commander-in-chief's proclamation 
and to obey it, reply came from Rampur requesting 
Abercrombie to conclude a treaty similar to the one that 
had existed between Faizullah and the nawab under 
English guarantee. The sardars said that they were 
prepared to accept Ahmad Ali Khan 215 the son of Muhammad 
Ali Khan, as their chief. 

On 7 December 1794 the preliminaries of the treaty 
were signed, under English guarantee, between the nawab 
and Nasrullah Khan, who was to manage the jagir during 
the minority of Ahmad Ali Khan, then aged about 9 years. 216 
According to them, hostilities ceased; the nawab granted 
a general pardon to the Rohillas; all Faizullah's treasures 
less 14,000 gold mohars already spent by Ghulam Muhammad 
were required to be delivered up to the Company; the nawab 
agreed to grant a jagir of 10 lakhs annual revenue to Ahmad 
Ali Khan; and the combined English and Oudh army was 
to march back as soon as the above treasures were handed 
over by the Rohillas. This was soon done, 161 bags con- 
taining 3,22,000 gold mohars were delivered up and the 

211 B.P.C. 7 Nov. 1794 Cherry to GG 26 Oct. ; C.-in-C. to GG 26 Oct. 
For a detailed account of the battle see Ratan Chand, op. cit. 207-8. 

212 B.P.C. 10 Nov. 1794 Proclamation signed by C.-in-C. 

213 B.P.C. 17 Nov. 1794 Cherry to GG 6 Nov. 

214 B.P.C. 5 Deo. 1794 Cherry to GG 21 Nov. 

215 His name is incorrectly given as Hamid Ali Khan in Cambridge History 
of India V 348. 

216 B.P.C. 19 Deo. 1794 Abercrombie to GG 8 Deo. ; Aitohison No. IV. 

10 73 

of rupees in return for an English guarantee to a proposed 
treaty between him and the nawab; but the governor- 
general thought that no answer need be given to it 213 . 
Proclamations, composed by the governor-general, were 
issued to the sons of Faizullah and other Rohilla sardars 208 
giving reasons for the nawab's declaration of war, and 
mobilization took place. An attempt had been made to 
bring about Ghulam Muhammad's retirement without 
resorting to arms, by impressing upon him that owing 
to the close connection between the nawab and the Company 
he stood no chance of success, but he refused to give up 
the jagir. He offered money and allegiance in return 
for his recognition as jagirdar, but the governor-general 
would have none of it 2 '' 4 . The Cawnpore brigade started 
for Fathgarh on i October to join the brigade there and 
the two brigades advanced upon Rampur. The nawab 
dispatched to Bareilly four battalions, two from Almas's 
forces reported to be very well equipped and trained, and 
two from Hasan Raza Khan's said to be as good 205 . The 
nawab desired to march in person and requested the com- 
mander-in-chief to meet him near Fathgarh 306 . Ghulam 
Muhammad offered to come to I/ucknow under the Company's 
protection to offer submission to the nawab 207 . Cherry 
encouraged him in this and sent him a permit of travel 
to Lucknow under the nawab's seal 208 . For this he was 
censured by the governor-general who feared that if 
Ghulam Muhammad got a chance of meeting the nawab, 
he would succeed in making up with him 309 . Ghulam 
Muhammad, however, could not avail himself of this 
opportunity as he was by that time practically a prisoner 
in Rampur, and his adherents would not allow him to 
leave the place 210 . The battle between the Rohillas and 
the Company's army took place at Katra on the morning 

202 ibid. 

203 B.P.C. 10 Got 1794. 

204 Cherry to Abercrombie 23 Sep. 

205 B.P.C. 17 Oct.' 1794 Cherry to GG 4 Oct. 

206 Nawab to Cherry 2 Oct. 

207 Ghulam Muhammad to Cherry reed. 4 Oct. 

208 Cherry to Ghulam Muhammad 7 Oct. 

209 Shore to Cherry 16 Oct. 

210 Intelligence from Rampur 6-8 Oct. 


of 27 October 1794, in which the former were decisively 
beaten and Sir Robert Abercrombie took 15 pieces of 
cannon 211 . The Company's losses were: Europeans, killed 
57 including 10 officers, and wounded 39 of which five 
were officers; Indians, killed 295, wounded 237 and missing 
six 212 . Ghulam Muhammad at first fled to Rehr, but on 
6 November 1794 delivered himself up to Abercrombie 213 . 
Abercrombie issued a proclamation to the other sons and 
relatives of Faizullah that jagirs would be granted them 
for their maintenance with proper dignity. The sardars 
at first replied that their chief Ghulam Muhammad only 
had the authority to negotiate terms with anyone, 214 but 
on Ghulam Muhammad's writing to Nasruallah Khan, 
the head of the family in the former's absence, asking him 
to give credit to the commander-in-chief s proclamation 
and to obey it, reply came from Rampur requesting 
Abercrombie to conclude a treaty similar to the one that 
had existed between Faizullah and the nawab under 
English guarantee. The sardars said that they were 
prepared to accept Ahmad Ali Khan 215 the son of Muhammad 
Ali Khan, as their chief. 

On 7 December 1794 the preliminaries of the treaty 
were signed, under English guarantee, between the nawab 
and Nasrullah Khan, who was to manage the jagir during 
the minority of Ahmad Ali Khan, then aged about 9 years. 216 
According to them, hostilities ceased; the nawab granted 
a general pardon to the Rohillas; all Faizullah's treasures 
less 14,000 gold mohars already spent by Ghulam Muhammad 
were required to be delivered up to the Company; the nawab 
agreed to grant a jagir of 10 lakhs annual revenue to Ahmad 
Ali Khan; and the combined English and Oudh army was 
to march back as soon as the above treasures were handed 
over by the Rohillas. This was soon done, 161 bags con- 
taining 3,22,000 gold mohars were delivered up and the 

211 B.P.C. 7 Nov. 1794 Cherry to GG 26 Oct.; C.-in-C. to GG 26 Oct. 
For a detailed account of the battle see Batan Chand, op. cit. f 207-8. 

212 B.P.C. 10 Nov. 1794 Proclamation signed by C.-m-C. 

213 B.P.C. 17 Nov. 1794 Cherry to GG 6 Nov. 

214 B.P.C. 5 Deo. 1794 Cherry to GG 21 Nov. 

215 His name is incorrectly given as Hamid Ali Khan in Cambridge History 
of India V 348. 

216 B.P.C. 19 Deo. 1794 Abercrombie to GG 8 Deo. ; Aitohison No. IV. 

10 73 

combined army started on its way back 317 . The final 
treaty was signed later in that year and ratified by the 
governor-general in March 1795 318 . Ghulam Muhammad 
Khan was sent to Benares where he was later joined by 
his family. The Rohilla treasure was handed over to 
the nawab according to the governor-general's instruc- 
tions 219 . Rampur along with Rohilkhand was ceded to 
the Company in 1801, but the ruling family was maintained 
by the latter. 

From the preceding account of the principal neigh- 
bours and the possible invaders of Oudh, it may be conclu- 
ded that during 1784-1798 that country was not seriously 
threatened, provided that it retained its friendship with 
the Company. But however secure it actually may have 
been, the degree of safety was not generally quite so ap- 
parent then as it is now, although some men at the spot 
realized it even then 320 . The Company would undoubtedly 
have defended Oudh in its own interests, for it 
could not afford to let the resources of Oudh pass into 
hostile hands 231 . But at the same time the financial con- 
dition of the Company during that period was not very 
good, and it naturally expected that Oudh should, in 
its own interest and in conformity with the treaties, pay 
for its protection. It is an interesting question what 
would have been the Company's attitude had Asafuddaula 
been a capable ruler like his father and had tended to be 

217 B.P.C. 9 Jan. 1795 Cherry to GG 12 Dec. 1794. 

218 Aitchison No. V. 

219 B.P.C. 9 Jan. 1795 Shore to Cherry 3 Jan. 

220 B.S.C. 28 June 1785 nawab-wazir to governor-general : "The 
protection of my country and of the concerns of government is 
effected through the blessing of God, and the friendship of the Company. 
It does not depend upon two risalahs of horse, and a company of 

European soldiers " ; Home Misc. 235. Capt. Frith's letter dated 

Oudh Nov. 1789. Also see B.L. 29. Opinion of Col. G. B. Eyres in 
political letter dated 8 April 1791 ; B.S.C. 26 April 1785 Palmer to 
GG 11 April; B.S.C. 11 Jan. 1788 opinion of Col. Briscoe in charge 
of a detachment at Anupshahr, quoted in Ives to Cornwallis 3 Jan ; 
B.8.C. 18 Feb. 1791 Maj. Dickson, O.C. at Anupshahr to Ives 31 Jan. 

221 Macpherson wrote on 17 Aug. 1786 : The Company "are so situated 
with that country (Oudb) that they must defend it or run the risk of 
losing their own." B.S.C. 17 August 1786 governor-general's minute. 


hostile. Would the Company then have been compelled 
to conquer Oudh in order not to let it fall into the hands 
of its most serious rival, the Mahrattas? Luckily for the 
Company, Asafuddaula was incapable of hostility and 
remained most faithfully friendly, and the Company, too, 
had no difficulty in abiding by the Act of 1784 with regard 
to Oudh. It enabled the Company also to maintain a part 
of its army at the expense of Oudh. This army it could 
ill afford to dismiss for fear of Tipu and the Mahrattas, 
at the same time it could scarcely maintain them for it 
was a period of great financial difficulty for the Company 232 , 

222 B.D. 14. Extract from the original drafts of the Company's general 
letter to Bengal & East India 21 Sep. 1785 : "You must be extremely 
cautious how you put the Company to so great an expense .... without 
the most obvious necessity, at a time too when not only the state of 
their affairs, but the public voice, so loudly calls for every possible 





IT HAS been said in the preceding pages that by 
1785 the nawabi army had degenerated practically 
to a state of uselessness. It is remarkable that while 
Oudh was in those days one of the principal recruit- 
ing grounds for soldiers, its own army should have dege- 
nerated to that extent. The causes are not far to seek. 
They were, firstly, the peculiar relationship of Oudh with 
the Company ; and secondly, the character of the nawab. 
Until the battle of Buxar in 1764, the army of Oudh was 
reputed to be formidable. P. E. Roberts remarks : "The 
battle of Buxar . . meant that the Mughal Emperor him- 
self, supported by his greatest minister [Shujauddaula], 
lay prostrate before the victorious armies of the mercan- 
tile state...." 1 . The foundation of the decay was laid 
then. The military reputation of Oudh received a severe 
blow. Shujauddaula, vigorous and able as he was, might 
have made a recovery, but apparently he, too, felt less 
confident of his strength and resources than before. In 
1768 he even accepted a treaty with the Company limiting 
the size and equipment of his army. Gen. Sir Robert 
Barker, the English commander-in-chief , had a special fear 
of Shujauddaula and felt sure that the latter would some 
day try to avenge his defeat of 1764. He therefore pressed 
Clive to do something to limit Shujauddaula's power. A 
deputation waited on the nawab at Benares and after 
prolonged - negotiations a treaty was signed towards the 
end of 1768*. By this Shujauddaula agreed not to en- 
tertain an army exceeding 35,000 men of any denomina- 
tion whatsoever. Of this, 10,000 men were to be cavalry ; 
ten battalions of trained sepoys including officers, 
not to exceed a total of 10,000; the najib regiment of 
5,000 including matchlockmen were to remain at that 

1 India under Wellesley 116. 

2 Aitcbison II. No. XLIII. 

7 6 

number; 500 men for the artillery, that number never to 
be exceeded. The remaining 9,500 men were to be irre-* 
gulars, neither to be clothed, armed or disciplined after 
the manner of the English sepoys or najib regiment. 
Shujauddaula also engaged to arm none of his forces, 
except the 10,000 men mentioned, after the English 
manner, nor to train them in the discipline of the 
English troops. In 1774 Shujauddaula put himself under 
further obligations to the Company by inviting and re- 
ceiving their military aid in his war against the Rohillas. 
In 1775 and 1777 two brigades of the Company's army 
were posted in Oudh, which meant that the military 
duties as well as military authority in Oudh no longer 
remained exclusive to the nawab, but was henceforward 
to be shared by the Company's government. These two 
brigades formed a considerable body of troops number- 
ing 10,611 in 1785, strong and dependable, paid for by 
the nawab but under the command of the Company's 
officers 3 . So they came to be regarded as the principal 
defence force of the country. Their presence, and the 
comparative security that Oudh enjoyed owing to the 
military reputation of the English, so closely allied with 
the nawab, pushed the original Oudh army into the 
background, and from disuse and absence of proper 
supervision it deteriorated very rapidly. 

This natural process of decline was considerably 
accelerated since 1775 owing to the character of the 
nominal head of the army, Nawab Asafuddaula. As Corn- 
wallis said, the advantages of his predecessors' good 
conduct had devolved upon him in the forms of a full 
treasury, a regulated revenue, submissive subjects, and 
disciplined troops 4 . But Asafuddaula, as has been seen, 
was not interested in the affairs of th^stfl^-agcl there 
does not seem to have been much 
to keep the army at an efficient^ 
since 1785. 

The army organization und^ 
follows. The main body of the | 

3 Chapter II note 1. 

4 B.S.C. I Nov. 1793 Cornwallis to na' 


maintained by the various amils and chakladars, spread 
all over the country. Each amil or chakladar was required 
to maintain a certain number of soldiers, infantry and 
cavalry, properly accoutred and mounted. These troops 
were placed under the command of risaldars. The amil 
was granted deduction from his jama or rent to the extent 
of the amount calculated to be necessary for maintaining 
his share of the army. He was required to send the 
troops to the field whenever the nawab required them. 
Two field pieces used to be attached to each body of 
troops, but some of the greater amils maintained more 
artillery. In 1798, when an .invasion by Zaman Shah was 
feared, Almas said that he had 42 pieces of cannon of 
which 30 were in excellent condition 5 . When not 
required by the nawab, these troops were employed in 
keeping in order refractory zamindars who had refused 
to pay the rent. These regular troops were called the 
tainati or mutayyana. Besides these, the amils kept 
a fairly large body of najibs who were well drilled 
and armed, and were distinguished from the first class 
by their dress. For ordinary everyday purposes irregu- 
lars known as sihbundy troops were maintained, who 
were neither drilled nor properly armed. 

The nawab did not keep a large army with himself. 
A small body consisting of 4,007 infantry and 1,489 
cavalry was attached to his person, mainly for purposes 
of state, 6 and was stationed at I^ucknow. The heavy 
artillery also was parked at the capital, where was also 
the topkhana or the arsenal. Under Asafuddaula the 
arsenal was in charge of General Claude Martine, a 
British officer of French birth, whose house at L,ucknow, 
the Constantia, is now used for a boys' school founded 
by an endowment made by the general. 

The first three nawabs of Oudh, Sa'adat Khan, Safdar 

5 B.M . Addl Ms. 13,531 f 33. Craig to Mornington 7 Nov. 1798. 

6 In 1190 Fasli (1782-3) the mutayyana maintained by the various amils 
amounted to 11,663 cavalry and 44,708 infantry, two amils, Almas 
and Khwaja Ainuddin of Rohilkhand, kept larger forces than the 
nawab. Their figures are, Almas : cavalry 3,556 ; infantry 9,053 ; 
Ainuddin: cavalry 1,740 ; infantry 6,492. See Parliamentary Papers 
re. impeachment of Warren Hastings I 547 ff. 

7 8 

Jang and Shujauddaula, kept strict control over the army. 
They were often engaged in wars and the army was cons- 
tantly with them. The work of revenue collection was 
done entirely by the sihbundy troops. The new system 
was started by Haidar Beg Khan who became the acting 
minister in March 1779 7 . It was done perhaps for the 
following reasons: since the posting of the Company's 
brigades in Oudh in 1775 and 1777, that country had 
had very little to fear from its neighbours, and Asaf- 
uddaula, not having been ambitious to expand his terri- 
tory and being precluded by treaty from having any 
connection with any foreign state, had no personal 
occasion to require the services of his army. So it was 
found unnecessary to keep the whole of the army near 
his person in the capital ; in fact, that would have 
resulted in frequent disturbances of the peace in the city 
and the neighbourhood by the idle soldiers. Therefore, 
probably, they were distributed all over the country to 
keep them in some sort of employment. The pay of the 
soldiers ranged from Rs. 3 to Rs. 8/13 in the infantry 
and from Rs. 18 to Rs. 426 per man and horse per month 
in the cavalry 8 . The soldiers and officers were principally 
Mussalmans, Rajputs, and some Brahmins. 

This system naturally led to a gradual degeneration of 
the army. Although nominally the nawab had the 
supreme control of the army, yet, owing to its being so 
dispersed, no centralised control could be exercised over 
it. The amils almost invariably kept a number considerably 
less than they got exemption for, and even those troops 
were not properly clothed, armed or -mounted. There 
Was no system of inspection and the amils appropriated to 
themselves the savings effected in this way. Ever since the 
death of Shujauddaula, Oudh was not faced with any foreign 
invasion, nor did any serious internal disorder break out 
until 1794* to require the services of the Oudh army. 
During this long period of inaction and due to the absence 

7 B.P.C. 1 Feb. 1795. Cherry to GG 13 Jan. 

8 The soldiers were paid from 6 to 12 months in the year, varying in 
different amildariea. Parliamentary Papers ut supra. 

9 The war against Ghulam Muhammad of Rampur. 


of interest and control on the part of the nawab, the 
once efficient army degenerated beyond measure. The 
extent of the degeneration was perhaps never fully realised 
until the Rampur affair made it necessary to take the 
stock of the military state of Oudh. On 20 April 1787, 
Cornwallis recorded a minute in which he said : 10 

... It is well-known that the forces in the service of the nawab 
are under no discipline, and barely sufficient to preserve the 
internal peace of his dominions. That his immediate subjects 
are retained within the bound of duty and allegiance by the 
respect inspired by the Company's troops, that the character 
of the wazir, his inconsiderate profusion in his expenses, his 
inattention to provide for them, and his total disregard to 
everything but momentary gratifications, rendered it impossible 
to depend upon his care, either for the protection of his 
country from foreign invasion or internal commotion. 

On 13 January 1796, Resident Cherry wrote 11 to the 
governor-general that the Oudh forces consisted of 

55 battalions computed at 1,000 men strong, najibs, and 
musketry with two field pieces to each corps carrying muskets, 
and 12,000 cavalry, a large artillery train of heavy and light 
ordnance with all sorts of stores. The artillery except the field 

gieces with the battalions is at Lucknow, the infantry except 
JUT battalions about his. Excellency's person, and the cavalry 
are stationed with the amils in the country, are employed in the 
(collection of) revenues, and from long disuse are considered 
more for revenue purpose than as entertained for the defence of 
the country ; the muskets are useless, the corps in general badly 
appointed, and from the pernicious practice of remaining with 
the amils, subject to no control from the wazir, are incomplete, 
and those present have acquired the profession of bankers and 
zamindars more than of soldiers . . . 

In July 1795 he had written that the number of the force 
could not be ascertained and that their condition was more 
to be regretted than the paucity of men. What they were 
paid by the amils was unknown, their discipline was not 
worthy of the name, nor were their arms any better, 
except of the cavalry, who were armed with swords and 
spears, etc. Probably only the small detachment with the 
nawab was regularly paid. Even under each amil the 
troops did not constitute a solid body, being placed under 
a number of practically independent risaldars and were 
spread all over the district. They were almost all the time 
engaged in subduing refractory zamindars, and if they 

10 B.S.C. 20 Apr. 1787. 

11 B.P.C. I Feb. 1796. 


were at any time required by the nawab, as happened in 
1794, there arose serious difficulties in collecting the 
revenues 18 . Sir Robert Abercrombie wrote on 25 May 
I795: 13 

Oudh is inhabited by a hardy and daring race, unused to 
subordination, inured to arms and discontented with the present 
government. The late disturbances in Rohilkhand justify these 
assertions . . . Throughout the extensive boundary of the 
nawab's dominions there is but one fortress, and that too by 
no means in a defensible state and without any garrison . . . The 
nawab's army is weak in cavalry, and though in numbers 
his artillery and infantry are considerable, they are greatly 
dispersed without attachment, without discipline and without 
subordination. Such is the state of the nawab's military esta- 
blishment and (with an exception in favour of Almas All Khan, 
who has a corps in the Doab, which if collected, might be of 
some service from their attachment to him and his command 
over them) I may safely affirm that the nawab's army would 
be of little, if any, weight in the defence of his country against 
foreign enemy provided with the necessary resources and bent 
on views of conquest. 

By -Article 4 of the treaty of 21 May 1775", the 
English undertook the defence of Oudh and the nawab 
maintained two brigades of the Company's troops in 
Oudh. It seems that both the Oudh sarkar and the 
Calcutta government took it for granted that the defence 
of Oudh rested entirely with the Company and that the 
nawabi army did not count at all. But in 1785, while 
the nawab thought that there was no external danger 
threatening Oudh and that, therefore, the maintenance of 
the two brigades was an unnecessary burden on him, 15 
the Calcutta government thought the need for a minimum 
of two brigades existed. And although it is true that 
as long as Oudh was in alliance with the Company, it had 
no serious danger from its neighbours, 16 yet in those 
days of political upheavals the view of the Calcutta 
government was natural. During the acting governor- 
generalship of Sir John Macpherson the nawab made 
repeated private representations to him objecting to be 
charged with the expenses of the second (Fathgarh) 

12 B.P.C. 7 August 1795. 

13 B.P.C. 25 May 1795. 

14 Aitchison No. XLVII. 

15 B.S.C. 19 Jan. 1787 nawab-wazir to governor-general reed. Nov. 1785. 

16 Chapter II. 

brigade, and his unwillingness to receive a garrison at 
Allahabad 17 . But Macpherson invariably replied empha- 
sising the necessity for maintaining both the- brigades, 
and they continued to remain in Oudh, although Allahabad 
was not garrisoned by the Company's troops until 1798* fl . 
The Court of Directors also wrote to the governor-general 
expressly desiring the withdrawal of the Fathgarh 
detachment, 19 but Macpherson convinced them, too, by 
the same arguments 30 . No attempts appear to have been 
made during that period to reform the military system 
of Oudh enabling it to defend itself, or to check its 
further deterioration. 

Cornwallis, soon after his arrival in India, received 
representations from the nawab complaining of the heavy 
burden of the army subsidy and praying for relief. 
Haidar Beg Khan went to Calcutta on 4 February 1787, 
and the questions of the defence of Oudh and its military 
reform were discussed between him and Cornwallis. 
Haidar Beg accepted the necessity of maintaining both 
the brigades in Oudh. As to military reforms, the 
governor-general only mildly suggested "the propriety of 
a reduction of the irregular troops maintained by the 
wazir if necessary in order to furnish the sums required 
for the pay of the Company's troops ..." His distrust 
of Almas led him to instruct the Resident to reduce his 
military strength, 21 which was the only part of the Oudh 
forces that was worth its name. Towards the end of his 
long letter to the nawab dated 12 August 1793, Cornwallis 
refers to the military state of Oudh 22 . He writes : 

I have not proposed any regulations for the (army) although 
perhaps there is no part of the establishments of your Excel- 
lency's government that more requires arrangement. I under- 
stand them to be an ill -paid and ill-disciplined and disorderly 
set of people ; that the numbers charged to your Excellency far 
exceed what are actually retained, and that the excess is a 
profit participated between the amils and the commanders. The 

17 B.S.C. 19 Jan. 1787 governor-general's minute. 

18 Chapter IV. 

19 B.D. 14. Company's general letter to Bengal and East India 
21 Sep. 1785. 

20 B.S.C. 17 August 1786 minute of governor-general. 

21 B.S.C. 8 Nov. 1787 Cornwallis to Ives 1 Oct. 

22 B.8.C. I Nov. 1793. 


redress is in your Excellency's power; the principle upon which 
it ought to be attempted is obvious. That no more should be 
retained than are actually wanted, that such as are retained 
should be effective, regularly mustered, and that their pay 
should be punctually issued . . . Your Excellency upon reflection 
may also see the propriety of new arrangement of the stations 
of the 'taynaut' troops in such a manner that those at one place 
may go to the assistance of another. 

Counsel of perfection given just before his departure for 
England. Perhaps the reason why he had not pressed 
while he was in India for any specific measures of reform 
was the order of the Court of Directors not to interfere 
in the internal affairs of Oudh 33 . 

A very natural question arises, how could the nawab's 
military establishment be improved ? Asafuddaula him- 
self was not interested in the disciplining of his troops. 
The security of the country being assured by its alliance 
with the British, neither the ministers, nor the amils felt 
any necessity of keeping the army in order, and the latter 
were more interested in making personal profits by econo- 
mising on the mutayyana. The only exception was 
Almas who, besides being the ablest of the amils, was 
also the one most exposed to the danger of Mahratta or 
Sikhs inroads. In these circumstances perhaps the only 
possible way of ensuring efficiency in the nawabi army 
was training and disciplining under competent European 
officers. By the treaty of 1775 no Europeans, except 
those approved by the governor-general, were allowed to 
take service under the Oudh government. So the provision 
of such officers rested entirely with the Calcutta govern- 
ment. But Cornwallis laid down the principle that no 
British officers were to be lent to native princes to 
command their troops, and in accordance with this principle 
the services of Capts. Macleod and Sloper, who were 
supposed to command two bodies of the nawab's troops, 
were dispensed with 24 . It should at the same time be 
noticed that the nawab never sought the advice or 

23 B.8.C. 20 April 1787 governor -general's minute. 

24 B.S.C. 15 Jan. 1787. Beng. Sec. Lett, letter No. 19 ; letter in Sec- 
ret Deptt. 22 Jan. 1787. The nawab had four battalions of his troops 
(3,000 in number) and 9 guns under an English officer, Oapt. Frith. 
Warren Hastings in 1784 wanted the nawab to disband that body as a 
measure of economy, but it was not done in view of the Sikh scare 


assistance of the governor-general in effecting military reforms 
in his country, and in accordance with the orders of the 
Court of Directors, the governor-general could not take 
the initiative in the matter. So that all Cgrnwallis did 
was to suggest to Haidar Beg that the nawab's own troops 
might be gradually disbanded, not so much by way of mili- 
tary reform as financial relief. He inquired later from the 
Resident, Ives, how far this had been accomplished. Ives 
made inquiries from Haidar Beg who seemed very reluctant 
to discuss the matter and only said that the work had 
been going on, in fact at a faster pace than Cornwallis 
had recommended. There the matter ended; Ives noticing 
the minister's reluctance did not press for further details 35 . 
The question was not again raised by Cornwallis until 
just before his departure 36 . 

The attention of Shore was early drawn to the pressing 
need for reform in every department of the Oudh government. 
On i May 1794 he wrote 27 to Cherry, who had been 
appointed Resident on 17 April 1794 in succession to 
Ives, that it was imperative that reforms should be 
effected on the lines laid down by Cornwallis in his letter 
of 12 August 1793. He wanted the Resident to find out 
how far the officers of the nawab were competent to carry 
out the reforms, and if anything had already been done. 
But at the same time he sounded a note of warning that 
the Resident should not in any way interfere in the inter- 
nal and personal affairs of the nawab. So that, although 
anxious to see the Oudh administration reformed, what 
the governor-general wanted the Resident to do towards 
that end was to be a mere spectator and adviser. The 
extent to which the administration had deteriorated on 
the one hand, and the character of the nawab and of his 

which soon followed although Frith was dismissed. NW to GO reed, 
in Calcutta 21 April 1785. B.S.C. 26 April 1785. These private 
commands were, however, often sources of great peculation. For 
instance, it was found on investigations by Cornwallis that Oapt. Sloper 
commanded no more than a few orderlymen although he charged the 
sarkar for a fully equipped regiment. Thus it would seem that 
Cornwallis's intention was not so much to allow the nawabi troops to 
drift as to relieve the sarkar of expensive but useless British officers. 

25 B.S.C. 18 Jan. 1788. Ives to Cornwallis 10 Jan. 

26 B.S.C. 28 Jan. 1793. GG to NW 29 Jan. 

27 B.P.C. 2 May 1794. 

8 4 

personal friends and counsellors on tlie other, made 
reforms impossible in that way. The only way was to 
compel the nawab to substitute a more efficient system 
of administration in place of the one that existed. In 
ordinary circumstances he ran the risk of losing his masnad; 
but for the protection afforded by the Company's arms, 
Oudh would either have been the prey of the Mahrattas 
or the scene of a revolution in favour of some strong 
amil. In ancient and mediaeval India there seems seldom 
to have occuixed popular revolutions, and it cannot be 
expected that there would have been one in Oudh. Con- 
quest by a foreigner or an internal revolution might not 
have affected the people of Oudh either for better or for 
worse, but this is almost certain that without the Com- 
pany's protection Asafuddaula's nawabi would have been 
of a shorter duration. 

Cherry, who was perhaps more sincere than tactful, 
seems to have been very keenly interested in the reforma- 
tion of the nawab's administration 38 . He held almost 
daily conferences with Asafuddaula and kept on advising 
him to change his ways and to take the reins of govern- 
ment in his own hands. In his opinion all the abuses 
arose out of "the personal neglect of the wazir in 
the administration of his own affairs". 29 Shore also 
urged on Asafuddaula the need for immediate reforms, 
but he was especially interested in the solvency of the 
state and the regular payment to the Company of the 
army subsidy. He asked Cherry to do the obviously 
impossible, viz., to avoid all semblance of direct inter- 
ference in the nawab's executive government, and make 
the reforms seem to arise from the suggestions of 
the nawab himself, while maintaining an attitude of 
"a disinterested well-wisher/' 30 On 24 June 1795 
he sent to Cherry suggestions for the reform of the 

28 Cherry's letters to the governor-general show how strongly he felt the 
unfairness of the fact that Oudh with such great possibilities should be 
so utterly neglected by the nawab. The letters are collected in B.M. 
Addl. MM. 13,522. 

29 B.P.C. 27 Feb. 1795 Cherry to GG 29 Jan. 

30 B.P.C. 24 April 1795 GG to Cherry 21 April. 


ttawab's administration 31 pointing out that the num- 
ber of the mutayyana troops maintained by the 
amils was far less than the numbei they got exemption 
for, and that even these were not properly equipped, so this 
department afforded a good field for retrenchment. He 
advised that the troops paid for should actually be main- 
tained, properly regimented and stationed, regularly paid 
aftd disciplined, properly armed and accoutred, and should 
be ready for service whenever wanted, and that the 
nawab should have a body of cavalry well mounted and 
always ready to march. This was apparently the first 
serious suggestion made by the governor-general for the 
military reform of Oudh since the reference to the matter 
made by Cornwallis. Cherry very eagerly took the cue 
and drew up an elaborate plan of reform which he 
submitted to the governor-general on 20 July 1795 33 . 
His plan was divided into two sections : (a) reform of the 
executive government, and (b) reforms in the departments 
of commerce and justice. The first he said needed 
immediate attention. This department comprised of 
(i) civil and (ii) military administration. As to the 
reform of the military administration he suggested that 
the nawab, besides being the nominal head of the 
army, should actually superintend the whole of the 
military force. He was conscious of the incapacity of the 
latter personally to do that work, so he suggested that 
this power should be delegated to one of the ministers. 
Of the ministers, Cherry did not think that Tikait Rai or 
Hulas Rai were suitable, but recommended that Hasan 
Raza Khan should be the chief commander. The chief 
commander was then to proceed to ascertain the number 
of troops maintained by the state. They were to be 
properly regimented and put under the command of 
efficient men independent of the amils. Suitable canton- 
ments were to be built for them at different places. When- 
ever an amil encountered resistance from the zamindars 
requiring the services of the nawab's troops, he was to 
apply to the nawab who would order the cantonment 

31 B.P.C. 26 June 1795. 

32 B.P.C. 1 August 1795. 

nearest to that district to send a detachment. Only the 
nawab, through the chief commander could order the 
movement of the troops. For ordinary everyday .busi- 
ness, the amils were to maintain sihbundy. The army 
was to be paid from the general treasury at Lucknow 
under simple and easy regulations to be devised later. 
As to the equipment of the army, in the opinion of Cherry 
the cavalry was to adhere to their usual sword and spear, 
only it was to be seen that they were actually so equipped. 
Matchlocks were to be substituted for such muskets as 
they had. How far the infantry was to adopt European 
discipline and arms was a question which could be 
decided later. 

The plan was practical and the nawab seemed at first 
willing to adopt it; but his natural indolence prevented him 
from following vigorously and consistently any particular 
course of action. The major reforms were being consist- 
ently postponed and Cherry justly lays the blame entirely 
on the nawab himself. He wrote: "Had not the weak- 
ness of the nawab 's judgment given way to the intrigues 
of his favourites, the progress would have been quicker." 38 
As has been said before, Cherry soon fell into the nawab's 
disfavour for trying to make him adopt the plan of 
administrative reforms, and for supporting the case of 
Tikait Rai who had been dismissed by the nawab on 
charges of embezzlement 34 . Cherry had been before 
admonished by the governor-general for having been too 
hasty and tactless in trying to bring about reforms in 
Oudh. On 6 May 1796, Shore wrote to him disapproving 
of his action because the nawab's acquiescence in the 
reforms had been, so to speak, extorted, an act "unjusti- 
fiable and ungenerous . . . whatever temporary benefits 
might result from it." He wanted to leave the whole 
initiative with the nawab ; "the wazir may be left to his 
unbiassed determination with respect to adoption or rejec- 
tion of the arrangement/' he wrote, 35 a very mistaken 

33 B.P.C. 20 May 1796 Cherry to GG 9 May. 

34 B.P.C. 13 June 1796 NW to GG reed. 29 May, supra Chapter I, 
infra Chapter IV. 

35 B.P.C. 6 May 1796. 

8 7 

policy if any effective reform was really meant to* be 
carried out in Oudh, knowing the wazir as well as Shore 
did. The governor-general on 13 July 1796 recorded a minute 
strongly condemning the conduct of Cherry, and with 
the concurrence of the Board Cherry was dismissed from 
the Residency of I/ucknow and was transferred to 
Benares 36 . Cherry, however, was confident that the 
nawab completely trusted him and that he had been only 
temporarily influenced by his evil advisers. He regretted 
his dismissal because he thought that he could have 
regained the nawab's confidence and ultimately effected 
the reforms 37 . 

The question of the nawab's debts 3ft and the appoint- 
ment of a minister in place of Hasan Raza Khan and 
Tikait Rai 39 absorbed almost the entire attention of 
the new Resident, John lyumsden, and of Shore who visited 
kucknow during February-April 1797. Shore secured the 
dismissal of Jhao L,al, the favourite of Asafuddaula and 
leader of the party opposed to British influence in Oudh. 
The new minister, Tafazzul Hussain Khan and i,umsden 
were occupied in reducing the influence of the nawab's 
favourites who still remained in lyucknow (e.g. Bhawani 
Mahra and Balakram) and trying to effect a general 
administrative reform. The reform of the military esta- 
blishment fell into the background. Before it could be 
revived, Asafuddaula died on 21 September 1797, and Shore 
was soon faced with a question of quite different .nature, 
the succession question 40 . Soon after that was settled, 
Shore was succeeded by I^ord Mornington, and with him 
came an almost complete change in the Company's relation- 
ship with Oudh. 

The steps by which the entire defence of Oudh came 
into the hands of the Company are comparatively easy 
to follow. By the treaty of 7 September 1773 Shuja- 
uddaula had become entitled to call for the services of a 

36 B.P.C. 13 June 1796. 

37 B.P.C. 8 July 1796 Cherry to Barlow 21 June. 

38 Chapter IV. 

39 Chapter VI. 

40 Chapter VII. 

41 Ait&son No. XLVI. 

detachment of the Company's troops on condition of 
paying for their maintenance at the rate of Rs. 2,10,000 
per brigade per month. A brigade was to consist of two 
battalions or one regiment of Europeans, six battalions 
of Indian sepoys, and a company of artillery. Such a re- 
quisition was made in 1774 for the war against the Rohillas. 
In 1775 the Majority in the Calcutta Council decided that 
the treaty of 1773 had ceased to be valid with the death 
of Shujauddaula, and a new treaty was concluded with 
Asafuddaula on 21 May I775 42 . The principal negotiator 
on the part of the nawab was his minister Mukhtarud- 
daula 43 . The Company undertook to defend Oudh at all times 
against all enemies (Article 4) ; in return the nawab gave 
to the Company in perpetual sovereignty the districts of 
Benares, Ghazipur and Chunar with all their dependencies 
(Article 5) 44 . The nawab agreed to pay the Campany at 
the rate of Rs. 2,60,000 per brigade per month as long as 
its troops remained within his boundaries. At this time 
one brigade was permanently stationed at Cawnpore. In 
1777 another brigade called the "temporary brigade" was 
posted at Fathgarh. Malcolm says 45 that shortly after 
the treaty of 1775 the nawab had applied for a body of 
English officers, six battalions of sepoys, a corps of artillery 
and some cavalry, intending to employ them in training 
and improving his own army, and that the required corps 
was formed in 1777 and sent over to Oudh, for which the 
nawab engaged to pay about 23 lakhs annually. Warren 
Hastings thought this new establishment to be useless and 
extravagant 46 . 

In 1779 the nawab stated his inability to pay the 
whole subsidy and therefore wished for the withdrawal of 
the temporary brigade, declaring that it had proved itself 
expensive but of no use. He, however, ultimately yielded 

42 ibid No. XLVII. 

43 This treaty made him so unpopular that he was murdered soon after. 
See Chapter I. 

44 Mir Ghulam All says that Benares was ceded as reward for bringing 
back Sa'adat Ali to Lucknow from Bareilly where he had been trying 
to set up his independent authority. 

45 History of India I 100-101. 

46 Gleig op. cit. II 139-50 Warren Hastings to Alex. Elliott 10 Feb. 1777 
and enclosures. 

12 89 

to 'the Calcutta government's earnest representation that 
it was necessary to keep both the brigades in Oudh 47 . 
During 1780-81 the sarkar renewed its agitation for the 
withdrawal of the Fathgarh brigade. On 19 September 
1781 a new engagement 48 was made by which it was 
agreed that the Fathgarh brigade and three regiments of 
cavalry should be recalled within the Company's terri- 
tories, that various corps of the nawab's irregulars under 
English officers should be disbanded, and that a regiment 
of the Company's sepoys should be posted at I^ucknow 
for the protection of the residency 49 for which the nawab 
would pay Rs. 25,000 per month. All the terms of this 
engagement except the most essential one, viz. the withdrawal 
of the brigade, were carried out 50 . 

In September 1784, when Warren Hastings visited 
lyucknow, the nawab again put forward his old request, 
and Hastings being convinced of its justice promised to 
comply with it and left orders with the Resident to that 
effect 51 . The Court of Directors approved of his decision 52 , 
but on his return to Calcutta he found that the members 
of his Council, Macpherson (governor-general designate) 
and Stables, were opposed to it". He submitted to their 
opinion and made the repeal of his former resolution 
appear to proceed from his own initiative lest it should 
put a burden of discredit and unpopularity upon the 
opposition, one of whom was going to succeed him 54 . 

By this time, Haidar Beg, feeling Oudh to be secure 
under the Company's protection, had disbanded some of 
the most efficient bodies of the army left by Shujauddaula, 
most of whom quitted Oudh and joined either Najaf Khan, 
a semi-independent chief in the Doab, or Sindhia 55 . Some 
possibly joined the rising bands of the armed Sanyasis 

47 Malcolm op. cit. 101-5. 

48 Aitohison No. XLIX. 

49 The Residency was established in 1773. 

50 Malcolm op. cit. 106. 

51 Hastings' memoir. Forrest Selections from the State Papers of the 
Governors -General in India, Warren Hastings H 27. 

52 B.D. 14. Company's general letter to Bengal and East India 21 Sept. 

53 B.3.C. 17 Aug. 1786 minute by Macpherson. 

54 Hastings' Memoir 29. 

55 Ghulam Ali op. cit. 137 ; Abu Talib op. cit. 31. 


who carried on depredations all over northern India. 
Those who remained in the nawab's service were mostly 
stationed with the amils who utterly neglected their train- 
ing and equipment. Thus in 1785, when the Sikh scare 
took place, the nawab found it necessary to call for the 
Company's troops as a measure of protection 56 . But 
before this happened, he (or rather his ministers) had 
thought out a plan for the defence of Oudh in which the 
nawabi army and one brigade of the Company's troops were 
to co-operate, and which had been explained to and 
approved of by Warren Hastings in 1784 5T . It was as 

'The sarkar was to take out of the hands of the zamin- 
dars the command of the two forts of Sartia and Kum- 
ria 58 on the north-western frontier, which were said to be 
strong forts well supplied with military stores. A reliable 
officer with a respectable body of troops was to be put in 
charge of them. I/ater on, after the ministers had paid off 
the Company's dues and the debt due to the bankers, a 
chain of similar forts were to be built in the Doab along 
the frontier, and instead of being placed under the amils, 
they were to be placed under men directly appointed by 
and responsible to the sarkar. This establishment with 
one brigade of the Company's troops to support it in times 
of emergency were, in the opinion of the sarkar, quite 
adequate for the defence of Oudh against all probable 
enemies. Hastings having approved of this plan, the 
Cawnpore brigade and Almas had been despatched to turn 
out the zamindars who had held these forts, a task soon 
accomplished. Hastings in the meantime returned from 
lyucknow, promising to issue, in conjunction with the 
Council, an order for the recall of the temporary brigade. 
But that order never came. 

When the Sikh scare arose early in 1785, the ministers still 
intending to implement their plan ordered four battalions 

56 Chapter II (ii). < 

57 B.8.C. 26 April 1785 N W to GG reod. at Calcutta 21 April. 

58 I have not been able to identify these places. They do not appear in 
Rennell's map, nor are they mentioned in the list of 25 mud forts in 
the Doab submitted by Almas at the end of 1798, B.P.C. 24 Deo. 

9 1 

and nine guns, formerly commanded by Capt. 
and at that time placed at Khairabad, to march to 
Bareilly to guard the ghats. Almas was ordered to march 
to Anupshahr in order to attack and drive away the Sikhs 
and then stay there guarding that part of the frontier. 
The sarkar was anxious to work out their plan successfully, 
probably in order to demonstrate to Calcutta the super- 
fluity of the Fathgarh brigade. But at this time came 
the representation from Sir John Gumming and the sugges- 
tion from Calcutta that the Fathgarh brigade should 
proceed to the frontier. The nawab in order to please the 
governor-general countermanded Almas's march and al- 
lowed Gumming to proceed to Anupshahr. 

Macpherson's ground for rejecting the operation of the 
plan was that the Company was so closely related with 
Oudh that " they had to defend the latter or run the risk 
of losing their own territories/' 60 and therefore could not 
risk the defence of Oudh, even partly, in the hands of 
the nawab's army. 

After the Sikh scare had passed, the nawab, still anxious 
to try the original plan, 61 wrote to the governor-general 
reminding him of it and pathetically adding, "Now ... if 
this matter should be approved, let it be executed. It is 
very necessary/' 62 The nawab and his ministers believed 
it was an effective and practicable plan of defence. Mac- 
pherson replied, "Your own troops under proper manage- 
ment and discipline, and the Company's brigades animated 
by the influence of your Highnesses attachment to this 
government, are fully sufficient to command the respect of 
all the powers of Hindustan united." 6<J But he was not 
in favour of reducing the strength of the Company's forces 
in Oudh, both for the sake of effective defence and relief to 

59 supra Note 24. 

60 Macpherson's minute 17 August 1786. 

61 It was much less expensive than keeping the Fathgarh brigade. For 
that brigade the nawab paid, while they remained in cantonment, 
Rs. 1,45,000 per month. Extra allowances and contingencies were 
paid when they went out on duty. Frith's battalions consisting of 
3,000 men and nine guns cost Rs. 25,000 per month. 

62 B.8.C. 26 April 1785 NW to GO reed. 21 April. 

63 B.S.C. 26 may 1785. 


tte Company's finances 64 . So the plan was not approved 
by him and, therefore, was not put into operation. On the 
contrary, he insisted on the disbanding of Frith's battalion 66 . 
Thus Macpherson, acting against the desire of the 
Oudh sarkar and against the recommendations of Warren 
Hastings, the Court of Directors and the Resident, I/t.-Col. 
Palmer, continued to keep both the brigades at Oudh, and 
insisted on the disbanding of whatever efficient troops re- 
mained with the nawab. In addition to the two brigades, 
there had been stationed in Oudh two bodies of the Com- 
pany's cavalry, one consisting of two risalas of Kandahar 
horse under Abdul Rahman, one attached to each of the 
subsidiary brigades, after their return from the Mahratta 
war, 6f) and a body of European 'chasseurs' from Chunar. 
Macpherson decided that these bodies should be perma- 
nently placed there because they were the only bodies of 
the Company's cavalry in Oudh and might prove useful. 6T 
The abortive attempt by the Oudh sarkar just 
preceding and following the Sikh scare of 1785 to share 
with the Company the defence of Oudh, seems to have 
been its last effort. Towards the end of 1785 the nawab 
again tried without success to effect the withdrawal of the 
Fathgarh brigade on grounds of its uselessness and Warren 
Hastings' former promise/* 8 but after that the process 
of degeneration described above, which had started with 
Asafuddaula's accession, went on unchecked. 

In order to make the defence of Oudh more secure, 
and thereby make the Company's territories immune 
from probable disturbances, Macpherson wanted the nawab 
to hand over the fort of Allahabad which the Company 
would refortify and garrison. But the nawab persisted 
in refusing because "the delivery of it would be considered 
disgraceful in the eyes of the surrounding states, as well 
as the impeachment of the firm faith he had ever 

84 GG's minute 17 Aug. 1786. 

66 B.S.C. 26 May 1785. GG to NW. 

66 B.L. 23 letter in Secret Deptt. 31 July 1785. 

67 ibid. 

68 B.S.C. 19 Jan. 1787 NW to GG reed, at Calcutta Nov. 1785 ; GG to 
NW 1 Feb. 1786. 


manifested towards the English nation."* 9 He ordered 
the gates of the fort to be opened and told the Resident 
that the English might take possession of it, "but that 
his consent could never go with it." 70 

Early in 1785 Haidar Beg came to Calcutta to discuss 
with Cornwallis, among other things, the question of the 
defence of Oudh and the withdrawal of the Fathgarh 
brigade. The process of degeneration of the nawab's army 
had been steadily going- on and Cornwallis became 
convinced that although Oudh was under no immediate 
danger of attack, yet the removal of any part of the 
subsidiary force might precipitate such an event, that a 
single brigade stationed at Cawnpore was by no means 
adequate for the defence of the country, and that the 
nawab's own army was so ill-disciplined that it was quite 
inadequate to maintain even internal peace. The Com- 
pany's forces were the only respectable body of troops in 
Oudh 71 . He therefore refused to withdraw any part of it, 
to which arrangement Haidar Beg agreed "cheerfully and 
readily" and promised to secure his master's acquiescence. 
Cornwallis told the minister that the Company's govern- 
ment would be willing to recall any part of that force 
whenever it would be found possible to do so without 
danger to either party, but he confesses in his minute 
that he foresaw no such possibility. The main reason 
for the minister's anxiety for the withdrawal of the 
brigade he understood to be the financial burden it imposed 
upon the sarkar. He therefore recommended that the 
nawab's own troops should be disbanded, thus relieving 
the finances of the state. Kamaluddin Haidar says 
that the governor-general had offered to return Benares, 
which he admitted to have been taken without sufficient 
justification, but the nawab refused to take back what he 
had once given, 78 but of this there is no mention either 
in the Company's records or in Cornwallis's correspondence. 

69 B.S.C. 2 Oct. 1786 Harper to Macpherson 18 Sep.; B.8.L. I letter in 
Sec. ft Pol. Deptt. 11 Nov. 1786. 

70 B.S.C. 2 Oct. 1786 Harper to Macpherson 18 Sep. 

71 B.8.C. 20 Apr. 1787 minute of governor-general ; Cornwallis to NW 
15 April. 

72 Kamaluddin op. cit. f 26. 


Haider Beg carried out the "reform" of the Oudh army 
to a certain extent, 73 but neglected more the remaining 
establishment, and for this he has been both directly 
and indirectly reproached by his compatriots 74 . 

There were two points which were at least practically 
left vague, viz. the purpose for which the subsidiary forces 
could be employed by the nawab, and the extent of the 
nawab's control over them. Undoubtedly they were there 
primarily for the protection of the frontiers of Oudh, 
either by actually taking the field against an invader, or 
by their presence by inspiring awe in the minds of possible 
invaders. They also undoubtedly acted as a deterrent force 
to possible disturbers of the peace in the country itself. 
But when, in spite of their presence, some zamindars had 
the courage to rebel, could they be employed by the nawab 
to suppress him? Requisitions were sometimes made by 
the nawab's ministers for this purpose, e.g. in May- June 
1788, when such an application was made for suppressing 
the zamindar of Anupshahr 75 . Resident Ives told the 
minister that the Company's troops were not to be em- 
ployed for any such purpose, it being purely an internal 
affair of the state. Cornwallis approved of this action, but 
he seems to have been in doubt as to what the exact 
principle guiding such eventualities should have been. Be- 
cause, on the one hand, the Company's troops were the only 
effective force in Oudh, hence the preservation of internal 
peace depended upon them; on the other hand, their un- 
restricted employment in that way would soon lead to 
open violation of the principle of non-inte'rvention which 
the Court of Directors had ordered. Moreover, if the 
nawab's right to employ the Company's forces indis- 
criminately were admitted, the ministers might abuse that 
right, and the forces would then be employed in 
unwarranted oppression of the amils. So Cornwallis laid 
down the principle that generally the forces were not to 
be so employed, but if the Resident and the officer 

73 B.8.C. 18 Jan. 1788 Ives to Cornwallis 10 Jan. 

74 Abu Talib op. tit. 100 ; Faiz Bakhsh op. cit. 30 ; Ghulam All op. tit. 

75 B.S. A P.O. 16 Jane 1788. 


commanding were fully satisfied that great mischief might 
arise out of a particular case, they could, after obtaining 
the governor-general's sanction, comply with the request 
of the sarkar. "To repress contumacy, rebellion, or reduce 
a refractory zamindar or renter, the troops may be 
employed; but when this service is performed, they should 
be recalled and not continue under any pretence for 
collecting the revenues. " 7fl 

As to the nawab's control over the subsidiary forces, he 
may have had some in theory only, but practically none 
at all. Whenever any service was required of them, he had 
to apply to the Resident, although these applications took 
the form of orders (shuqqa), and if the Resident saw that 
compliance with such orders would not embarrass the 
interests of the Company, he readily issued orders 
accordingly to the officers of the forces. But whenever 
the Resident felt the least doubt on the advisability of 
acceeding to the nawab's wishes, he wrote to Calcutta for 
instructions, where the ultimate authority lay. 

By the time of Haidar Beg's death (1792) the nawabi 
army came to be universally regarded as of no practical 
utility, except the troops under Almas. The Rohilla trouble 
of 1794 was quelled entirely by the Company's forces 
under Sir Robert Abercrombie who in 1795 recommended 
that another brigade should be stationed in Oudh, with 
the control of the fort of Allahabad, on which he laid 
particular emphasis. 77 In 1794 the Company's forces 
in Oudh amounted to the following : 

At Cawnpore : a weak battalion of Europeans of 298 firelocks 
exclusive of invalids, "the men as deficient in size as the corps 
was in strength" ; two companies of European artillery (exclu- 
sive of a detachment at Lucknow) of 111 N.C.O.s and privates, 
with six companies of lascars; a regiment of 228 N.C.O.s and 
privates; and five battalions of native infantry. 

At Lucknow : a battalion of native infantry with its guns. 

At Fathgarh : a company of artillery of 59 N.C.O.s and privates, 
with four companies of lascars ; a regiment of cavalry of 186 
mounted men ; and six battalions of native infantry. 78 

After the Rohilla trouble, the Cawnpore battalion of 

76 B.S.C. 16 June 1788 Cornwallis to lyes. 

77 J5.P.C. 25 May 1795 minute by the C.-in-C. 

78 ibid. 

9 6 

Europeans was replaced by a better body of 618 rank and file, 
and the deficiencies in the artillery were made up. A com- 
pany of artillery with two of lascars were added to the Fath- 
garh brigade. It had been arranged that a detachment of 
that brigade consisting of two battalions of native infantry 
with guns should regularly camp at Anupshahr during 
the fair seasons. The commander-in-chief criticised this 
system of detaching two battalions at such a distance 
from the headquarters, which subjected them to the 
danger of being cut off by the Mahrattas. He therefore 
recommended that a respectable post be established on the 
eastern bank of the Ganges to which the detachment 
might retire in emergencies. He further recommended 
that a considerable body of the nawab's cavalry be 
attached to that station. He found the native battalions 
(of the subsidiary force) to consist of more recruits and 
undisciplined men than was proper, and the European 
cavalry at a very low level of efficiency. The regiment at 
Lucknow, in his opinion, served no useful purpose there, 
being employed only on guarding the Residency, and 
he therefore recommended that it should join its brigade 
at Cawnpore. 80 

Shore agreed generally with the commander-in-chief 
and recommended that over and above a fresh brigade 
a body of 5,000 horse should be kept in Oudh, and 
proposed to go to Lucknow personally to influence the 
nawab to accept this increase. 81 He went to lyucknow 
early in 1797, and according to the orders of the Court 
of Directors 82 procured Asafuddaula's consent to pay for 
two extra regiments, provided that their total expenses 
did not exceed 5^ lakh of rupees annually, 83 though no 
fresh troops were stationed in Oudh itself. The subsidiary 
forces in Oudh in October 1797 amounted to the following : 

79 ibid. 

80 While at Lucknow, this regiment received from the nawab an extra 
Rs. 25,000 per month as field allowance. 

81 3.P.C. 22 June 1795 GG's minute. 

82 Home Misc. 236. Pol. Lett, from Court of Directors to QG in Council 

22 April 1796. 

83 B.S.C. 27 Mar. 1797 Shore to Speke 21 March ; Aitohison No. LH. 

13 97 

At Cawnpore and Fathgarh : 

1 regiment of European infantry rank and file 929 

5 companies of European artillery 332 

14 companies of lascars 1036 

2 regiments of native cavalry 924 

4 regiments of native infantry 6800 

The Hindustani regiment of cavalry 367 

The 27th regt. of dragoons shortly to be posted at 

Cawnpore 353 


i.e. two brigades of almost the same strength as were 
maintained in 1785. The commander-in-chief expected 
that another native regiment from Chunar numbering 
1,800 would join the forces in Oudh, making the total 


A treaty was concluded between Sa'adat Ali and Shore 
on 7 February 1798, on the former's accession to the 
masnad.* 5 Article 2 of this treaty repeats the Company's 
obligation to defend Oudh against all enemies. By Article 
7 it was agreed that the English forces maintained in 
Oudh should never fall below 10,000 men including all 
classes of troops. A clause that caused serious trouble soon 
after,' as will be seen in a later chapter, was that "if at any 
time it should become necessary to augment the troops 
of the Company in Oudh beyond the number of 13,000. . . 
the nawab agrees to pay the actual difference occasioned 
by the excess." It added that if the number fell below 
8,000, the nawab would be granted proportionate deduc- 
tion in the subsidy. The much coveted fort of Allahabad 
was at last handed over to the Company (Article 8) "to 
their exclusive possession . . . with all its buildings and 
appurtenances, and the ghats immediately dependent 
upon the fort, together with as much land surrounding the 
fort as may be necessary for the purpose of an esplanade," 
By Article 9 the nawab agreed to the restationing of 
the Company's forces at places more convenient than 
Cawnpore and Fathgarh. By Article 13 he engaged to 
have no communication with any foreign power except 
through the Company, and by Article 15 not to employ 

84 B.8.C. 9 Oct. 1797 minute of C-in-C. 

85 Aitchison No. Lin. 

9 8 

any European, or permit any to settle in Oudh, except 
with the consent of the governor-general. This was the 
position in May 1798 when Mornington assumed the 
governor-generalship at Calcutta. 




THE AGRICUI/TURAI, wealth of Oudh has earned for 
it the name of the "Garden of India." Yet the 
period 1785 to 1798 has been financially one of the 
worst for the Oudh sarkar. The sources of revenue were 
neglected and the demands made on the receipts were heavy. 
By the end of Asafuddaula's nawabi the sarkar was on the 
verge of bankruptcy. 

The principal source of income of the sarkar was land 
revenue, called 'jama 1 . The system of collection under 
Asafuddaula was the same as established by Safdar Jang, 1 
which was a slight variation of Akbar's revenue system. 
The province was divided into large districts which were 
placed under nazims. Those districts were divided into 
small units called 'parganas' or 'mahals', with a 'tahsildar' 
in each entrusted with its collection. Several parganas 
were grouped together and placed under an amil. The 
nazims and amils possessed troops, sihbundy only up to 
the time of Asafuddaula's accession, but after that also 
bodies of the regular army. Two systems of assessment 
of revenue were current, the 'amani' and the 'ijara' by 
the former, the sarkar dealt directly with the cultivators, 
while the latter was the much criticised system of farming. 
According to Elliott 3 the ijara system did not become 
common until the time of Sa'adat Ali, and later gave rise to 
the taluqdars. Settlement was made annually with the amils 
on the apparent expectation of the harvest. These settle- 
ments were elastic, deductions called 'rihai' were some- 
times granted when the crops failed owing to some 
unforeseen causes, and augmentations called 'ziadat' 
sometimes made, a system often abused by either party. 
Besides the land under the direct administration of the 

1 A. L. Srivastava, The first two Nawaba of Oudh 261-2. 

2 op. cit. 127. 


sarkar, there were districts, particulary on the frontiers, 
held by zamindars who realised the taxes from the ryot, 
exercised complete civil and criminal jurisdiction over 
them, and paid th& sarkar's revenue in the form of fixed 
tributes without rendering any account of their collections. 
When any of these zamindars became refractory, one of 
the first things he did was to stop paying the tribute. 
They did not resume payment until compelled and were 
often dispossessed of the land by the sarkar's troops. 
The assessment being so unsystematic and collections 
irregular, it is almost impossible to get at the exact 
amount of the sarkar's income in any year. Kamaluddin 
Haidar states that under Shujauddaula the revenue had 
originally amounted to Rs. 1,15,00,000 annually, but 
since the annexation of the Doab after the Rohilla war 
and part of Farrukhabad a few months before his death, 
it increased to Rs. 1,70,00,000. * About Asafuddaula's 
revenue he only says that it was the same as usual. 4 Abu 
Talib says that the jama for 1188 F. (September 1780- 
September 1781) was Rs. 2,85,98,300, exclusive of the 
nawab's private lands, the confiscated jagirs, etc., which 
yielded about another 20 lakh. 5 This high figure, if 
correct, must have diminished subsequently. In 1783 
Nathaniel Middleton (Resident) wrote that the nawab's 
gross revenue to his knowledge never exceeded 
Rs. 2,25,00,000 and the net revenue about Rs. 1,45,00,000, 
but it was never fully realised. 6 Early in 1784, Warren 
Hastings when on his way to I v ucknow had noticed the 
country to be in a bad state of cultivation owing to 
drought. But in the course of his stay there till the last 
week of August the rains had started plentifully and the 
prospects of the next harvest were very much brighter. 
The ministers submitted to him a statement showing the 
settlement for the next year, i.e. 1192 F. (1784-5) to be 
gross Rs. 2,20,65,689-130. 7 It should be noted that this 
sum excludes the revenues from Benares, Chunar, 

3 op. dt. f 22. 

4 ibid f 29. 

5 op. cit. 101. 

6 B.8.C. 28 July 1783 Middleton to GO in Council 30 June. 

1 B.S. <b P.O. 19 Jan. 1787 Hastings to Council 20 Sep. 1784. 


GKazipur, Jaunpur, etc., estimated at Rs. 23 lakh, which 
had been handed over to the Company in 1775, and that 
it includes the income from the jagirs confiscated by 
the nawab during 1781-2 estimated at 20 lakh annually. 8 
From these figures it appears that the revenue of the sarkar 
had increased since Shujauddaula's death by about 55 lakh. 
The statement submitted by the ministers also forecast 
the revenues for the three years succeeding 1192 F. 9 
showing an expected steady increase. How far these 
hopes were realised is not known. It is probable that in 
their anxiety to reassure Hastings and make a speedy 
settlement, the ministers painted the prospects too brightly, 
but it can be inferred, as will be seen from later accounts, 
that the gross receipts did not fall below two crore in 
any year. 

In February 1796, Raja Tikait Rai submitted to the 
Resident an account of the income and expenditure of 
the sarkar 10 during the last four months of Fasli years 
1199 (May-September 1792), 1200, 1201 and 1202, the 
gross jamas being Rs. I5,63,i33-o-2, n Rs. 2,13,81,154-3-9, 
Rs. 2,12,35,002-13-3 and Rs. 2,66,47,054-10-9, respectively. 
It should be noted that in December 1794 after 
the war with the Rohillas, part of Rohilkhand yielding 
Rs. 7,n,629-4-3 12 had been added to Oudh. Tafazzul 
Hussain submitted the following abstract of expected 
receipts during 1204 F. (1796-7) : ia 

Land revenue Rs. 2,26,92,320 5 6 

Revenue of jagir lands under 

attachment 1,58,917 7 

Rs. 2,27,61,237 12 6 
i.e. commissions usually 

received by the minister 10,47,319 4 3 

Total Rs. 2,37,98,667 9 

The figure remained practically unchanged in the year 

8 Abu Talib op. cit. 100-1. 

9 For 1193, Rs. 2,44,60,604-6-3; for 1194, Rs. 2,66,06,326-6-9; and for 
1196, Rs. 2,87,11,326-11-9. 

10 B.P.C. 16 May 1796. 

11 Abu Talib cfives the figures for 1199 as Rs. 2,00,98,263 gross exclusive 
of the nawab's private lands, confiscated jagirs, etc., op. cit. 101. 

12 B.P.C. 16 May 1796 Cherry to NW 3 April. 

13 B.P.C. 16 Oct. 1796. 


following Asafuddaula's death, the jama for 1205 'F. 
(1797-8) being Rs. 2,37,52,283-1 i-o. 14 

Assuming that the figures given by Kamal, Abu Talib, 
Tikait Rai and Tafazzul Hussain to be all even approxi- 
mately correct, it follows that while towards the latter 
part of Haidar Beg's administration the revenue declined, 
it revived under Tikait Rai, and remained about the same 
under Tafazzul Hussain ; but never during Asafuddaula's 
naw^bi did it fall below the figure of Shujauddaula's 

The sarkar's sources of income besides land revenue 
were an annual tribute from Farrukhabad, customs duties, 
and road and pilgrim taxes. The Farrukhabad tribute 
amounted, according to Abu Talib, 16 to Rs. sj lakh per 
annum; but Muzaffar Jang, nawab of Farrukhabad, in 
a letter to Shore 10 says that he paid regularly to the 
nawab-wazir a yearly tribute of Rs. 4,50,000 up to the 
end of 1199 F - The exact sums realised in customs, and 
road and pilgrim taxes is not known. The customs seem to 
have been an important item, for when after Haidar Beg's 
visit to Calcutta Cornwallis ordered that no Europeans, 
either private individuals or the Company's agents, were to 
be granted exemptions from paying the duty on goods, 
the nawab was overjoyed. Harper, who informed the 
nawab of the governor-general's order, writes, "I have 
not language ... to convey to you the joy which the wazir 
expressed." 17 

The road duties or 'sayer' were realised at chowkis 
established on the sarkari roads from travellers passing and 
repassing by them. Cornwallis had suggested to Haidar 
Beg their abolition for they tended to discourage merchants 
from travelling in Oudh while the receipts from that 
source, according to Cornwallis's estimate, amounted to 
two or three lakh only. Haidar Beg was unwilling to 
abolish the tax because, according to him, it yielded about 
12 lakh annually. 18 The nawab also strongly supported 

14 B.P.C. 6 Aug. 1798. 

15 op. cit. 15. 

16 B.P.C. 6 Dec. 1793. 

17 B.8. <Se P.C. 28 March 1787 Harper to CornwaUia 18 March. 

18 B.P.C. 24 Feb. 1790 Ives to Cornwallis 9 Feb. 


the" minister; Cornwallis therefore instructed the Resident 
not to press the point further and it was given up. 1 * Whe- 
ther or not the sayer actually yield 12 lakh there was no 
means of knowing, for when Ives proposed to appoint his 
agents at the chowkis to find out the actual receipts, it was 
vigorously opposed by the minister as an infringement of 
the principle of non-interference, and Ives had to yield. 

As regards the pilgrim tax, a regular schedule had been 
drawn up in 1790. 2o This item should have yielded a 
considerable amount for thousands of pilgrims visited 
Allahabad and Ajodhya in the nawab's territory, and passed 
through Oudh in order to visit Hardwar, Benares, and 
Gaya. But it seems impossible to arrive at even any 
apporximate figure, for it never appeared as a head of 
receipt in the few statements of the sarkar's income and 
expenditure submitted from time to time by the ministers. 
These statements mention only the land revenue which, 
according to Middleton, Macpherson and Cherry, was the 
principal source of income of the sarkar. 21 From the 
accounts submitted it appears that on paper the state 
under Asafuddaula was no less solvent than under Shuja- 
uddaula; yet actually on the eve of Asafuddaula's death it 
was on the verge of bankruptcy. The reasons are: firstly, 
the actual receipts fell far short of the amounts shown in 
the accounts; and secondly, the expenditure increased 
beyond measure during the period. 

It is certain that a good deal of corruption existed in 
the administration, which was made possible only by the 
nawab's slackness. The first three nawabs had been very 
vigilant with the result that their receipts were regular 
and the ryot comparatively unoppressed and happy. 
Under Asafuddaula while the settlements were made for 
higher amounts than before, giving the amils excuse for 
realising higher rents from the ryot, a considerable part of 
it never reached the sarkar's treasury. The amils were 

19 B.P.C. 19 March 1790 Ives to Cornwallis 5 Mar. 
' 20 supra Chapter II (i). 

21 B.S.C. 28 July 1783 Middleton to GG in Council 30 June ; B.L. 24 
Macpherson to Court of Directors 25 March 1786; B.P.C. 7 August 
1795 plan of reform drawn up by Cherry. 


granted deductions in lieu of the maintenance of the taynati 
troops which they did not maintain, and thus the sarkar 
lost in revenue. The amils often applied for deduction by 
falsely representing failure of crops or extraordinary ex- 
pense for the suppression of some refractory zamindar. 
Such requests were invariably granted if the amils suc- 
ceeded in pleasing the ministers. Frequent complaints of 
malversation 'and irregularities reached Cornwallis against 
Tahsin Ali Khan, the head of the customs department, 
and Jhao I^al, head of the intelligence and several other 
departments. 23 Cornwallis, acting on the principle of non- 
interference, could do no more than direct the nawab's 
attention to these complaints, 33 but the nawab let the 
matter drop as the men involved were his fovourites. 
Asafuddaula was extravagant and extravagance was 
the order of the day, and as Abu Talib points out, 2 * 
everybody needed money and made it without scruple. 
Raja Tikait Rai's conduct has already been described. 35 
Jhao lyal represented to the nawab that Tikait Rai had 
built himself a palace with bricks of gold! 26 Tikait Rai's 
successor, Raja Buchraj, a friend of Jhao Lai, was found 
to have been guilty of embezzlement for which he fled 
the country. When the highest officers of the state 
acted like this, no better conduct could normally be 
expected of the lesser ones who were often the creatures 
of their superiors. Having had to pass through so many 
possible agencies of diminution, the revenue that ultimately 
saw its way to the sarkar's treasury must have fallen 
very much short of the original settlement which appeared 
on the face of the accounts. 

The charges upon this diminished revenue were many 
and heavy. The result was that heavy deficits occurred 
every year, loans at exorbitantly high rates of interest 
were contracted, some at least of which were fictitious. 27 
And thus another item was added to the heavy liabilities 

22 B.P.C. 8 April 1793 Ives to Cornwallis 28 March. 

23 B.P.C. 19 Jan. 1793 Cornwallis to NW. 

24 op. cit. 98-100. 

25 Chapter I. 

26 Ghulam Ali op. cit. 154. 

27 Chapter 1. 


of the sarkar, viz. the repayment of loans and the 
payment of interests on them. 

Like the data about the income of the sarkar, 
those about its disbursements are also meagre. The 
statement submitted by Tikait Rai in February I79& 28 show 
that during a period of 3 years snd 4 months (1199-1202 F.) 
the total jama had been Rs. 7,08,26,344-11-11 and the 
total kharch (disbursement) Rs. 8,12,28,720-7-11. The 
accounts of the years 1199 F - ^ I2QI F - s h w deficits every 
year; only in 1202 F. a surplus of Rs. 33,14,496-14 is 
shown. The deficit at the end of the entire period is 
shown as Rs. 1,01,17,472-3-3 after taking into account 
a surplus from the first part of 1199 F - 

An account rendered by Tafazzul Russian Khan for the 
year 1204 ^- ( I 79^"97) 29 shows that the gross revenue for 
that year was Rs. 2,37,98,557-0-9 and the current charges 
Rs. 2,36,82,895-10-4, which would have left just over a 
lakh surplus, but after taking into account the outstanding 
arrears for the previous year, viz. Rs. 36,60,872-3-10 and 
gains arising out of conversions in currency (Rs. 3,76,990- 
5-6), it leaves a deficit of Rs. 31,68,220-7-11. 30 It should 
be noted that under Tafazzul the receipts had been better 
supervised, disbursements somewhat regulated, and some, 
though very inconsiderable, economies effected. In the 
previous years the actual receipts must have been less 
and the expenses more. It should further be noticed 
that this account does not mention any interest on loans 
or principal to be repaid, because a separate arrangement 
had been arrived at between the nawab and his creditors 
in September 1796. The above account shows that the 
principal heads of expenditure were (a) the mutayyana 
or the nawab's military establishment, (b) pensions and 
wages, (c) the nawab's private expenses, and (d) the 
Company's subsidy. To this must be added the interests 
on loans and principals repaid. 

J. Wombwell, accountant at Lucknow in 1783, computes 
the ,nawab's mutayyana in 1190 F. (1782-83) at 61,867 

28 supra. 

29 B.P.C. 16 Oct. 1797. 
80 Appendix A. 


cavalry and infantry, besides the artillery the number 
of which he does not give. Kamaluddin gives 80,000 as 
the number of infantry and cavalry, and 30,000 artillery 
and others. 31 This is perhaps an over-estimate, for since 
1784 the mutayyana tended to diminish rather than 
increase. Wombwell gives the military expenses in 1782-3 
as Rs. 75,22,661-6. TafazzuTs figures for 1796-7 are 
Rs. 63,25,028-2-3. So that the number in 1796-7 must have 
been less than in 1782-3. The expenses were not 
disproportionately large provided the required number 
of troops were actually and properly maintained by the 
amils. This item was not a direct expenditure from 
the sarkar's treasury, but the amils were given deduction 
in their jama for their share of the mutayyana. As Oudh 
was, since 1775, well-protected by the Company's subsidiary 
brigades, large economy could have been made under 
this head, but in the absence of the nawab's supervision 
it proved to be the source of great peculation, the fruits 
of which were shafted between the amils and the sarkar's 

The pensions and wages consisted of the salaries of the 
sarkar's officers and allowances granted to the numerous 
relatives of the nawab. As to who exactly received them 
and what amount are not known. According to lyumsden 
no reduction could with propriety be made under this head. 32 

The item most open to criticism was the nawab's 
private expenses. In 1796-7 they amounted to the huge 
total of Rs. 74,41,732-8-0. The details show their waste- 
fulness. 33 Undoubtedly they could have been reduced 
considerably without any loss to the nawab's comfort or 
prestige and with much gain to the efficiency of his 
administration. Some attempts had been made to eco- 
nomise and regulate his expenses, mostly at the instance 
of Hastings as well as of Cornwallis and Shore. But such 
efforts were very unwelcome to Asafuddaula and his 
favourites, and the ministers in the Company's confidence 
gave but half-hearted support. The governor-general, 

31 Tawarikh-i-Awadh 89. 

32 B.P.C. 16 Oct. 1797 Lumsden to Shore 24 July. 

33 Appendix B. 


acting on the principle of non-interference, did little more 
than suggest and remonstrate. 

On 14 August 1788 Cornwallis wrote a letter to Asaf- 
uddaula recommending economy in view of the unsettled 
state of affairs at Delhi which might any moment involve 
Oudh in war. When the Resident read this letter to Asaf- 
uddaula, he heard it quietly till he "came to the part 
recommending a reduction in his expenses, which put him 
in an ill-humour," and nothing that Ives could say to him 
"was sufficient to bring him back to his former temper." 34 
Haidar Beg, owing to his timidity, had never ventured 
to do anything effective against the nawab's wishes. After 
Haider Beg's death, Ives gave Tikait Rai every assurance 
of his and the governor-general's support if he adopted 
a vigorous line of action in effecting economy and regulating 
the nawab's expenses/ 56 After about a year Ives reports 
that in a long interview with Tikait Rai he found that 
very little progress had been made in that direction 
"owing probably to the minister's not* having sufficient 
courage to do anything effective." 36 On that occasion 
Tikait Rai informed Ives that he had received the nawab's 
consent to a reduction of 15 lakh a year in his expenses. 
But an examination of the mode of economy disclosed 
its hollowness. A saving of Rs. 2,32,000 had been made 
by intending to pay the servants of the household four 
months in the year instead of the usual six. In the same 
way reduction had been proposed in the number of months 
in the year for which the troops got pay. This would 
only have aggravated the already existing complaint of 
irregular payments to the troops. Other savings had been 
proposed by reducing the pensions to some of the 
nawab's relatives and others. But nothing had been 
taken from the jagir of a lakh and other allowances enjoyed 
by Jhao I/al; nothing from the 60,000 rupees granted 
to the nawab's barber Ataullah; nothing from the 
one lakh annually spent on the nawab's 'rumnas' 
(parks) ; nothing from the i lakh (approximately) 

34 B.S.C. 5 Sep. 1788 Ives to CornwaUis 26 Aug. 

35 B.P.C. 20 June 1792 Ives to Cornwallis 8 Jun. 

36 B.P.C. 8 April 1793 Ives to Cornwallis 28 Mar. 


appropriated to his gardens; nothing from the 1,40,000 
on account of his bearers, exclusive of a large allowance 
to their chief Bhawani Mahra; nothing from the 82,000 
spent on the people who attended to a variety of animals 
which accompanied the nawab in his hunting parties. 
No decrease was made in the number of his servants, nor 
in the animals in his menagerie. In the doab (maintenance 
of animals) expenses a reduction of only 1,40,000 had 
been made by reducing the quantity of the food for the 
animals, which cost over 25 lakh annually. Even the 
false economy of 15 lakh fell far short of the minimum of 
40 lakh considered necessary by the ministers and the 
Resident. Tikait Rai promised to renew the discussion 
with the nawab. Ives told him and Hasan Raza that they 
did not make full use of the governor-general's letter of 
assurance to them, 37 that in what had been accomplished, 
they seemed to have proceeded without any specific plan 
or principle on which any effective reform ought to be 
based, and that to him the business appeared "exceedingly 
plain, and to consist principally in retaining so many 
servants and animals, etc., as might be necessary to 
maintain a proper degree of state, in granting to such as 
were retained. . .a comfortable subsistence ( to be paid 
regularly ) and in dismissing the remainder." The ministers 
said they had made strong representations to the nawab, 
but that he would not listen to reason, and took their 
leave promising further efforts. At a later interview 
Tikait Rai explained to Ives 38 that the purpose of re- 
ducing the servants' pay had been to induce them to 
leave. He further said that the nawab had agreed to 
reduce by half his garden expenses which had been 
Rs. 1,43,000. It seemed that Jhao Lai had- urged this 
economy as well as a few other minor ones in order to reduce 
the odium thrown upon his own character and of his evil 
influence on the nawab. As to the doab expenses Asaf had 
agreed to reduce it by Rs. 1,54,000. The heaviest item 
under that head was the food for the elephants which 
numbered about 2,000. It was found a problem what 

37 B.P.C. 28 Jan. 1793 Cornwallis to Hasan Raza and Tikait Rai 29 Jan. 

38 B.P.C. 19 April 1793 Ives to Cornwallis 8 April. 


to 'do with them; it would have been deemed disgraceful 
either to sell or to kill them. The servants' wages, 
after the reduction, still amounted to Rs. 2,80,000 a 

The ministers seemed to wish for more active 
co-operation from the Company's government in forcing 
the nawab to cut down his expenses, but Ives told them 
that it was not possible for the governor-general to give 
them more support than he had already signified in his 
letter to them of 29 January I793 39 "without encroaching 
on his Excellency's rights as an independent Prince." 
Nothing was accomplished, and Cornwallis shortly before 
his departure wrote to Asaf uddaula urging him to balance 
his budget, adding, "this appears to me of the most 
indispensable necessity, for what can be more evident 
than that ruin must be the consequence of an excess of 
expenditure above your income." 40 

In 1795 Resident Cherry took up the question of 
reforming the nawab's administration with great enthu- 
siasm and encouraged Tikait Rai to procure Asaf uddaula 's 
sanction to retrenchments in as many branches of expendi- 
ture as possible. On 5 April 1795, Tikait Rai informed 
Cherry that Asafuddaula had ordered the discharge of six 
battalions of his infantry, and that he further intended to 
disband some of his cavalry and discontinue several per- 
sonal pensions called 'imtiyazi'. 41 These economies actually 
amounted to very little, but Cherry thought that it was 
the right moment to push on further economies. His efforts 
had some temporary effect, and on i September 1795 
he was able to inform Shore that all round economies to 
the extent of 40 lakh per annum had been effected, of 
which 14 lakh were from the nawab's private expenses. 42 
But he in this way incurred the displeasure of the nawab 
who complained to Shore, and Cherry was dismissed in 
June 1796. From that time until Shore's visit to I^uck- 
now early in 1797, Asafuddaula and his favourite Jhao 

39 B.P.C. 28 Jan. 1793. 

40 B.8.C. I Nov. 1793 Cornwallis to NW 12 Aug. 

41 B.P.C. 17 April 1795 Cherry to Shore 6 April. 

42 B.P.C. 18 Sep. 1795. 


Lai had their way and the expenses increased beyond 
all limits. 43 Tafazzul on being appointed minister found 
the treasury almost empty and he tried to restore what 
order he could. It appears from his statement of accounts 
for I79&-7 44 that he had not been able to accomplish much. 
Asafuddaula died on 21 September 1797, and from that 
time until the accession of Sa'adat Ali, Tafazzul found 
himself opposed in his attempts at retrenchment by Asaf- 
uddaula's mother whose wish evidently was to be consi- 
dered the source of all authority. 45 

A heavy drain upon the assets of the sarkar was made 
for the liquidation of debts and the interests thereon. 
Though, as has already been said, some at least of the 
loans were fictitious, nonetheless, they were a charge upon 
the revenue. The rates of interest charged varied from 
one to four per cent, per month, often compound interest, 
while on certain loans no interest at all was paid. 46 To- 
wards the middle of 1792 the ministers informed Ives 
that the nawab's debts amounted to nearly 75 lakh of 
rupees. 47 In July Ives wrote that the debts paying interests 
at 36 to 48 per cent, per annum amounted to between 50 
and 60 lakh, besides which there were debts of another 40 to 
50 lakh which paid no interest.* 8 As a means of liquidating 
these debts he suggested to the governor-general the 
floating of a loan for the nawab in Calcutta under the 
sanction and security of the governor-general and Council, 
at 12 per cent, per annum, payable annually according to 
the priority of the date of issue. The loan was to be in 
the form of promissory notes issued from the Company's 
treasuries at Calcutta, Patna, Murshidabad and Benares, 
and repayable at the respective treasuries of issue. This 
plan was obviously not adopted. 

Tikait Rai's statement 4 * shows that the principals 
repaid, exclusive of any interest, amounted in 1199 F - 

43 B.8.C. 16 Oct. 1797 Lumaden to Shore 28 Sep. 

44 B.P.C. 16 Oct. 1797. 

45 B.S.C. 16 Oct. 1797 Lumsden to Shore 30 Sep. 

46 B.P.C. 18 July 1792 Ives to Cornwallis 6 July. 

47 B.P.C. 20 June 1792 Ives to Cornwallis 8 June. 

48 B.P.C. 18 July 1792 Ives to Cornwallis 6 July. 

49 B.P.C. 16 May 1796. 


) and the following years to Rs. 21,94,019-10-9, 
Rs. 78,17,849-7-3, Rs. 1,47,11,983-15-6 and Rs. 1,03,26, 
337-10-6. A detailed statement delivered by him on 3 
November 1795 s gives the names of individual creditors 
and the amounts due to them up to the end of Zilhija 1209 
A.H. (18 July 1795). It shows that on that date Rs. 51,88,781 
principal was due to the English creditors, and Rs. 
50,51,339 to the Indian bankers, making a total of Rs. 
1,02,40,120. Cherry from private investigations had found 
that the debt amounted to Rs. 1,03,15,644-13, but in his 
account some of the creditors had included the interest 
also, hence the discrepancy. 51 The accounts during Tikait 
Rai's administration, however, contained a number of 
fictitious debts which was the excuse for the nawab's 
dismissing him early in 1796. 

At last in September 1796 a definite settlement was 
arrived at between the nawab and his creditors. 63 The 
Indian creditors agreed to a deduction of three per cent, 
from their principals in view of the high rates of interest 
they had received to date, and to accept the repayment 
of the remaining principal due by equal instalments in six 
years. They gave up all claims to any interest in future. 
Obviously the fear of losing all led them to agree to this 
settlement. Only one of them, Dwarka Das to whom about 
2\ lakh were due, refused to accept these terms. The 
nawab requested General Martine (to whom he owed 
Rs. 26,05,000) and George Johnstone (to whom he owed 
over eight lakh) to influence the English creditors to accept 
similar terms, 5 a but they refused. Ultimately the nawab 
discharged the whole of the principals due to them from 
his own private treasury, half in gold and half in silver, 
and they each executed a general release and gave up 
their bonds. 64 Probably Jhao I^al, who was Asafuddaula's 
chief minister at that time, prodded the nawab into this 
sudden energy in repaying the English creditors in order to 

60 B.P.C. 23 Nov. 1796. 

61 B.P.C. 16 May 1796 Cherry to GG in Council 14 April. 

52 B.P.C. 1 Oct. 1796 Lumsden to GG 28 Sep. ; NW to Lumsden 21 Sep.; 
B.M. AMI. Mas. 16,849. 

63 B.M. Addl. Mas. 16,849 NW to Lumsden ; Col. Martine to NW. 

64 B.P.C. 1 Oct. 1796 Lumsden to GG 28 Sep. 

ingratiate himself with them, hoping thus to make 'his 
position more secure. If that was his intention, he was 
disappointed for soon after Shore secured his banishment 
from Oudh. 

The last item among the nawab's liabilities was the 
Company's subsidy. Financial obligations of Oudh to the 
Company dated back to 1765 when, after the battle of 
Buxar, Shujauddaula had been obliged to pay 50 lakh of 
rupees as the price for his reinstatement. By the treaty 
of 7 September 1773, Kora and Allahabad, then in the 
Company's possession, were sold to Shujauddaula for 50 
lakh, of which 20 lakh were paid then and the remainder 
promised in two yearly instalments of 15 lakh each. At 
the same time a Resident on the part of the Company was 
accepted by Shujauddaula. In the following year he 
employed an English force in his war against the Rohillas, 
for which he paid at the rate of Rs. 2,10,000 per brigade 
per month. After the conclusion of the war, he engaged 
to pay through the Company stipends amounting to 
Rs. 61,578 a Year to certain Rohilla sardars, and a sum of 
40 lakh 55 for the services of the Company's troops. 
Shujauddaula died in January 1775 and left to Asafuddaula 
a legacy of a heavy debt due to the Company. 

Under Asafuddaula both the arrears and the current 
dues to the Company tended to increase. In the first 
place, by the treaty of 1775 the subsidy for the Company's 
brigade, which was at that time made permanent, was 
increased by Rs. 50,000 per month. Secondly, Asafuddaula 
engaged to pay to his brother Sa'adat Ali through the 
Company an allowance of three lakh of rupees annually. 
This amount was reduced in 1784 to two lakh. In the 
third place, in 1777 a "temporary brigade" was added, which 
in fact became permanent, at the cost of Rs. 17,40,000 
a year. When any part of the subsidiary brigades moved 
out of their headquarters, they were paid extra monthly 
allowances at the rate of Rs. 25,000 per regiment of 
infantry, Rs. 20,000 for the company of artillery, and a 
sum not fixed for the cavalry. 56 Besides the debts of 

55 This was known as the "army donation.' * 

56 B.S. d> P.O. 19 Ja D . 1787 Macpherson's minute 17 Aug. 1786. 


Shujauddaula and the increased army subsidy, Asafuddaula 
consented to maintain at L,ucknow a Resident with a full 
complement of assistants and clerks. In addition, the 
Calcutta government often took upon itself, particularly 
during the administration of Macpherson, the realisation 
of salaries or debts due by the lyucknow sarkar to private 
individuals, and these sums swelled the nawab's dues to 
the Company. 

The period up to the end of Macpherson's administra- 
tion is one of muddled accounts. The Resident and the 
accountant at I^ucknow and the accountant-general at 
Calcutta all seem to have kept separate accounts of 
the nawab's dues, and they all varied from each other. 
Revised accounts were constantly being issued. Middleton 
wrote in 1783 that when he took charge of the I/ucknow 
residency for the third time in 1781, he found the 
balance due from the sarkar to the end of 1187 F. 
(September 1780) to be 32 lakh exclusive of loj lakh 
on account of Shujauddaula's 'army donation/ and that 
during the following year the balance increased by 12 
lakh, making it 44 lakh when Hastings met Asafuddaula 
at Benares in September 1781. 57 In the same letter he 
states that the gross amount realised by him during his 
third residency (up to September 1782) was Rs. 1,46,00,000. 
This sum includes an item of 26 lakh for military stores 
said to have been supplied between 1773 and 1779. This 
the nawab's ministers declined to pay in full because, they 
said, considerable part of those stores had never been 
delivered at all. Middleton however succeeded in presuading 
them to suspend their claim for the time being, but when 
in the next year's accounts another 14 lakh were added 
under the same head, the ministers became clamorous. 
They demanded a deduction to the extent of the value of 
the undelivered part of the stores, offering that the 
valuation be made by the Company's government. "They 
argued," writes Middleton, "that if I would not agree 
to this, they must conclude that their claims were not 
meant to be considered, in which case, I might at once 

67 B.8.C. 28 July 1783 Middleton to GG in Council 30 June. 


take the country, since justice was out of the question." 58 
This letter reached Calcutta on 17 May 1782, and the 
Board laid it aside for consideration. 59 According to 
Middleton, the Company's claims on the sarkar, current 
and arrears, during his last residency amounted to over 
2\ crore of which the current claims for 1781-2 amounted 
to Rs. 70,99,882. 

Macpherson in his minute of 17 August I786 61 states 
that the total realised by Middleton during his last 
residency was Fyzabad 63 Rs. 1,24,89,792-12-7. 

Bristow succeeded Middleton in September 1782 and 
held the post until the withdrawal of the residency at the 
end of 1783. 6J During this period he had realised from 
Oudh Fyz. Rs. 1,65,39,544-2-8 G4 and he left with Wombwell, 
accountant at I/ucknow, accounts showing the balance still 
due from the sarkar -on 31 January 1784 to be Fyz. Rs. 54, 
02,165-13-11, and the current demands from i February 
1784 to September 1784 to be Fyz. Rs. 52,01,052, i.e. a total 
due to the end of 1191 F. (September 1784) amounting to 
Fyz. Rs. 1,06,03,217-13-11. 8i> But both parkins (accountant- 
general) and Wombwell subsequently submitted accounts 
showing that the actual balance due was somewhat more. 66 
Hastings during his stay at I/ucknow (February-August 
1784) came to the following terms with the nawab and 
his ministers: it was decided that the balance due at the 
end of January 1784 was Fyz. Rs. 73,02,607-9-4, and that 
the current demands to September 1784 amounted to 
Rs. 33,31,249-14-10, making the total due to the end of 
1191 F. Rs. 1,06,33,857-8-2. Hastings during that stay 
received Rs. 67,88,927-7-5, leaving a balance of Rs. 38,44, 
930-0-9 for 1191 F. (1783-4). An arrangement for the next 
year was made by which the sarkar agreed to pay by the 
end of 1192 F. (7 September 1785) Rs. 1,05,00,000 in full 

58 ibid. 

59 ibid. 

60 ibid. 

61 B.8.C. 11 Aug. 1786. 

62 100 Fyzabad Rs.=110 Calcutta Rs. 

63 B.S.C. 31 Dec. 1783. 

64 B.S. & P.O. 19 Jan. 1787 ; Maopherson's minute 16 Aug. 1786. 

65 B.S. d> P.C. 19 Jan. 1787. 

66 ibid. 


liquidation of all claims, current and arrears, to that date. 
In arriving at this figure, Hastings had struck out the cost 
of the Fathgarh (temporary) brigade from i January 1785. 
The residency had been withdrawn, but Palmer remained 
in Lucknow as the agent of the governor-general with a 
salary of Rs. 2,20,000 a year to be paid by the sarkar. 
By way of relief to the sarkar, Hastings urged the dismissal 
of a number of English officers who cammanded various 
bodies of the nawab's army. Having made this arrange- 
ment Hastings returned to Calcutta in November and, as 
has been seen, suspended the recall of the Fathgarh 
brigade. 67 He however represented to the Board that 
since the size of the brigade had by certain rearrangements 
become smaller, it was unfair that the charge for them 
should remain as before. Thereupon the accountant- 
general on 7 January 1785 submitted -an account 68 which 
showed that the actual expenses of the brigades came to 
Cal. Rs. 82,064-4-2 per month more than what the Oudh 
sarkar paid for them. This was strongly criticised by 
Palmer who wrote 09 that if the actual expenses of the 
brigades exceeded the subsidy paid by the nawab, 

it ought not in any shape to be ascribed to a necessity of service 
performed for him. The subsidy was estimated much higher than 
the actual expenses of the establishment when it was made. An 
amazing increase of officers has since taken place, and the super- 
numeraries have been crowded upon the stations within his 
Excellency's dominions, while there have been great deficiency in 
the number of privates, particularly Europeans. 

Hastings left India in February 1785. The Oudh 
sarkar got no practical relief from his arrangement.- The 
Fathgarh brigade was not withdrawn, and though the 
residency had been withdrawn, a very expensive establish- 
ment still remained in Lucknow costing Rs. 92,546 per 
month besides a commission of i^ per cent, allowed to 
the accountant on the total receipts at the Company's 
treasury at lyucknow. 70 

On 5 April 1785 the Board instructed the accountant 

67 B.S.C. 14 Dec. 1784. 

68 B.8. A P.C. 19 Feb. 1785. 

69 B.8.C. 14 Jim. 1785 Palmer to GG 31 May. 

70 Proceedings in the Secret Inspection Deptt. 3 May 1785. See 
Appendix C for the details of the salaries. 


at lyucknow to debit the sarkar for Cal. Rs. 1,69,084-3-8 
being the additional amount for the two risalas of 
Kandahar horse and a company of chasseurs from Chunar, 
and for Calcutta Rs. 84,572-2, paid to Majors I,umsdaine 
and Gilpin on account of allowance in lieu of contingencies 
while they had been employed by the nawab. 71 The 
nawab consented, under protest, to pay these sums in 
the ensuing year. He wrote: 72 

The particulars of my distress are well -known to you and you 
have been favourable for the reduction of my expenses. . . The 
protection of my country. . . does not depend upon the rissalahs 
of horse and a company of European soldiers ... At present I 
can make no excuses, because it might occur to your mind that 
I do not choose to obey your will. Their assignment shall be 
given in 1193Fasli. 

He wrote similarly regarding the claims of I/umsdaine and 

As repeated orders have come from the Gentlemen of the Council, 
compliance is necessary, and you may write it in my account 
agreeable to their orders. In 1193 Fasli the money will be 
received. la 

During 28 January to 2 February 1785, the nawab had 
ordered the march of the Fathgarh detachment to his 
frontier. On 20 February he countermanded that order, 
but Col. Sir John Gumming, the officer commanding, 
represented the necessity of the brigade going to the 
frontier, and so it went. Macpherson says in his minute 
of 17 August 1785 that the nawab did not protest, but it 
has been seen that he did. 7 * Besides, it is clear from the 
tone of the nawab's letters to the governor-general that 
he almost invariably consented to whatever was desired 
by the Calcutta government for fear of incurring its dis- 
pleasure. The extra field allowances for the brigade up to 
^6 June 1785, when it returned to the cantonment, were 
added to the nawab's debt. 

A corps of "foreign rangers" had also been sent out of 
the Company's boundaries for service in Oudh, and the 
additional expenditure of their march and stay beyond the 

71 B.S.C. 19 Jan. 1787. 

72 B.S.C. 28 June 1786 NW to GO reed. 21 June. 

73 B.8. & P.O. 24 Aug. 1785 NW to Accbt. of Lucknow reed. 10 June. 

74 Chapter II (i). 


Company's boundaries was charged to the nawab, 75 the 
amount being Rs. 35*608-9-0. 76 

Since the departure of Hastings the claims of a num- 
ber of private individuals on the nawab were supported by 
the Company's government and were added to their 
account with the sarkar. Reference has already been 
made to the claims of IvUmsdaine and Gilpin. They had 
applied to the governor-general to secure payment from 
the sarkar of Fyz. Rs. 76,313-3 on account of contingencies 
which they had been obliged to spend while employed by 
the nawab in suppressing the rebel Raja Balbhaddar 
Singh. 77 They said that Haidar Beg had promised 
Middleton that this amount would be paid by way of 
monthly allowances, but it was not done. By the ins- 
tructions of the governor-general and Council, Wombwell 
referred this to the sarkar. The nawab replied that this 
matter had never been mentioned by Middleton "God 
knows how these gentlemen can have said so/' 78 But the 
Board on 5 April 1785 decided that the claims were per- 
fectly in order, and that there was clear evidence of 
Haidar Beg's having consented to the arrangement. The 
accountant was accordingly instructed to debit the nawab 
for that sum. 79 Similar claims of I/t. Shipton for 
Rs. 1,503-4-11, of Capt. Dennis of Rs. 19,400-12 and of 
several others 80 for about Rs. 5,600 were debited to the 
nawab's account. A claim of Capt. Norman Macleod 81 
for Fyz. Rs. 26,640-6 was also similarly added. He had 
held the command of a body of the nawab's troops in 
1784 when Hastings went to lyucknow. It was resolved 
that his command should cease from i February and he 
was ordered in the beginning of April to hand over the 
command to the man appointed by the nawab. On 7 
April he wrote that no one had come to relieve him, that 
the troops were two months in arrear for their pay and 

75 Macpherson's minute 17 Aug. 1786. 

76 Appendix F. 

77 In 1780-2. Abu Talib op. cit. 65-8. 

78 B.S.O. 5 April 1785 NW to Wombwell 4 Mar. 

79 B.8. <b P.C. 6 April 1785. 

80 Among them : Lt. Knox Rs. 651 ; Lt. Brietzipke Rs. 125 ; Lt. 
Hutohinson Rs. 340. 

81 B.S.C. 26 Apr. 1785. 

were clamouring to be paid before he left. He was told 
that since other bodies of troops were more than four to 
five months in arrear, their claims had priority. Macleod 
asked for permission to borrow money on his own credit 
and pay off his troops, on condition' of being reimbursed 
later by the sarkar. This permission was apparently given 
and Macleod submitted an account of his dues from the 
sarkar to the accountant. Taylor, dak-master at I/ucknow, 
made repeated requests to the sarkar on behalf of Macleod 
without success, 82 so he requested the accountant to 
realise the sum through the Company's account. The 
accountant said that he could not do so without orders 
from Calcutta. On 26 April 1785 the necessary order was 
given. In February 1786 the Board decided that Macleod 
should resume his command, and the nawab again 

One crore and five lakh of rupees which the sarkar 
had engaged to pay to the end of 1192 F. were duly and 
completely paid/ 3 But owing to the addition of the 
extra claims and the continuance of the Fathgarh brigade, 
a balance of Fyz. Rs. 13,40,725-12-8 still remained due. 

A reduction in the allowances to the civil and military 
servants who had been employed in Oudh by Hastings 
was made by his successor in May 1785. In spite of the 
theoretical withdrawal of the residency in December 1784, 
the Company's civil and military servants still remaining 
in lyucknow drew a total allowance of over a lakh of 
rupees per month. 84 By a resolution of 3 May 1785, the 
Board cut this down to Rs. 1,18,740 a year, the total 
annual reduction amounting to nearly Rs. 14 lakh. 8r> 
A number of offices were totally abolished and drastic 
reductions were made in the salaries of those who remained, 
e.g. the agent's salary was reduced from Rs. 19,900 per 
month to Rs. 2,988. Perhaps this was one of the reasons 
of Palmer's resignation towards the end of May 1785. In 

82 B.S.C. 22 Dec. 1784. 

83 B.S.C. 11 Oct. 1785 Wombwell to Harper 20 Sep. ; Harper to GG 20 
Sep. ; B.L. 23 letter in Secret Deptt. 25 Oct. 1785. 

84 Appendix 0. 

85 B.8.C. 17 Aug. 1786 GG's minute; B.L. 23 general letter 31 July 
1785. * 

fad, some of the reductions were so drastic that the new 
scale of pay 86 was in certain cases considered even by 
Cornwallis as inadequate. 

After the engagement for 1192 F. was fulfilled, I^t.-Col. 
Gabriel Harper, who had succeeded Palmer in June 1785, 
made a settlement for the next year 87 which showed the 
Company's claims on the sarkar for that year to be 
Rs. 74,28,944-o-o. 88 Having stated the total claim, Har- 
per proceeded to arrange for its payment. About the prin- 
ciple that had guided him in drawing up the claims he 
wrote to Macpherson, "Knowing the necessities of your 
government. . . . my utmost endeavours shall be executed 
to make the supplies as considerable as possible". 89 Feeling, 
however, that Rs. 74 lakh would be too much to expect 
immediately after one crore and five lakh paid during 
the preceding year, he agreed to accept during 1785-6 
Rs. 65 lakh, besides Rs. 1,62,164 on account of the Com- 
pany's servants' pay from i May 1785 to 31 August 1786 at 
the rate of Rs. 9,892 per month. 90 The Calcutta govern- 
ment approved of this settlement. In order to assist 
the already overstrained ministers in keeping their engage- 
ment, Harper gave up the monopoly of saltpetre, "which 
had come to be regarded as a perquisite attached to the 
office of the Resident," a sacrifice, he estimated, of a clear 
20,000 a year. 91 In Palmer's opinion this was a gross exag- 
geration, for his own receipts from the same source during 
1783-4, he said, did not quite amount to Cal. Rs. 40,000, 
and that he did not expect it to have exceeded Rs. 50,000 
in 1784-5, which Harper had received. 93 

On 7 July 1786 the accountant-general submitted a 
lengthy statement showing how inadequate Harper's settle- 
ment had been 93 and that the total claims of the Company 
should have been Rs. 87,84,i72-i3-4, 84 the total unprovided 

86 Appendix D. 

87 B.S.C. 8 Nov. 1786. 

88 Appendix E. 

89 B.8.C. 11 Oct. 1785 Harper to GG 20 Sep. 

90 B.S.C. 8 Nov. 1785. 

91 B.8.C. 8 Nov. 1785 Harper to GG 25 Oct. 

92 B.S.C. 17 Jan. 1786 Palmer to GG and Council 23 Dec. 1785. 

93 B.S.C. 24 July 1786. 

94 Appendix F. 


for being Rs. 21,65,468-13-4. He recommended that tiiis 
should be taken into consideration when the settlement 
for 1786-7 was made in October 1786. 

The Oudh sarkar failed to keep its engagement ; out of 
Rs. 66,62,164 only Rs. 37,50,000 were paid by the end of 
1193 F. The abstract of accounts for that year shows that 
whereas certain amounts were subsequently added 95 to 
Harper's settlement, the charges for the Fathgarh brigade 
had been suspended from i January 1786. This had been 
done by a resolution of the Board of 8 August 1786, 96 
perhaps because the nawab had reminded Macpherson of 
his promise given through Palmer not to charge the sarkar 
for that brigade after 1192 F. 97 Aft&r adjusting the acces- 
sions and the reduction, the total promised to be paid by 
the sarkar during 1785-6 came to Rs. 69,26,086-2-3 of 
which only Rs. 37,50,000 were paid ; thus at the end 
of 1193 F. a balance of Rs. 31,76,086-2-3 remained 

On 15 October 1786 Harper submitted his settlement 
with the Oudh sarkar for 1194 F. (1786-87). 98 In this the 
army subsidy is calculated less the charge for the Fath- 
garh brigade. In course of 1785-6 the private claims of 
several individuals totalling Rs. 1,01,634-14-9 ' had been 
added to the Company's demands. 99 The claims of one 
Mir Muhammad Hussain for Rs. 32,733-6, arrears on ac- 
count of an allowance from the sarkar of Rs. 1,500 per 
month, had also been supported by the governor-general 
and Council, who on 7 December 1785 directed the Resi- 
dent to .realise the sum from the sarkar. 100 The nawab 
told Harper that Johnson, assistant to the Resident in 
Middleton's time, with whom the Mir was very friendly, 
had granted this allowance to the latter. He added, "The 
manner in which matters were conducted by that gentle- 
man [Johnson] after his own pleasure is well known. The 
money was at his command, and he took it also in the 

95 Appendix G. 

96 Not recorded in the proceedings. See B.S. <b P.O. 28 Aug. 1787. 

97 B.S.C, 19 Jan. 1787 NW to Maopherson reed. Nov. 1785. 

98 B.S.C. 25 Oct. 1786 Harper to Hay 15 Oct. 

99 Appendix H. 

100 B.8.C. 1 Dec. 1785. 


name of the said person." 101 After the removal of Bristow 
and Johnson in 1783, the nawab said, he had discontinued 
that allowance. The Mir left lyucknow with Johnson and 
subsequently accompanied him to Hyderabad where the 
latter was appointed Resident. Johnson said in a letter 
that the Mir consented to go there only after Hastings 
had given him the assurance that his allowance would be 
realised regularly from the sarkar. 102 The nawab's letter 
denies Hastings having mentioned this to him. The Cal- 
cutta government was interested in the Mir's claim because 
he had, by his knowledge of Persian and Indian Court 
procedure, proved himself useful at Hyderabad, and the 
Company paid him Rs. 700 per month by way of part 
payment of his allowance from Oudh. On the nawab's 
denial of the validity of the Mir's claim, the Board asked 
him to reconsider the matter. This claim, however, was 
not included in the estimate for 1786-7. Later on Corn- 
wallis found that this amount could not regularly be 
demanded from the sarkar, and ordered that if any money 
had been paid to the Mir, it should be carried to the 
Company's debit. 103 

Harper's settlement for 1786-7 included Rs. 94,540 on 
account of the salaries to the Company's servants at 
IvUcknow, being Rs. 24,164 less than the amount under 
the same head in the previous year. This is on account 
of the discontinuance of the office of dak-master who 
received Rs. 24,000 a year on account of his salary and 
the expenses of his department. Small reductions in the 
other salaries account for the remaining Rs. i64. 104 The 
total claims for 1194 F. amounted to 

Balance for 1785-6 Rs. 31,76,086 2 3 

Current for 1786-7 38,77,760 14 9 

Total .. Rs. 69,53,847 1 

The sarkar promised to pay regularly Rs. 3,50,000 a month 
until the whole amount was cleared. 105 

101 B.8.C. 8 Feb. 1786 NW to Harper. 

102 B.S.C. 16 Deo. 1785 Johnson to Hay 16 Aug. 

103 Beng. See. Lett. I No. 25 letter in Secret Deptt. 5 May 1787. 

104 Appendix I. 

105 B.S.C. 25 Oct. 1786 Harper to Hay 15 Oct. 


Cornwallis took over charge in Calcutta on 12 September 
1786 and almost immediately after received applications 
from Oudh for an interview. Having granted that, he 
issued orders suspending Harper's settlement for 1786-7, 
requiring him only to make temporary arrangements so 
that the Company's troops in Oudh were regularly 
paid. 106 

Quite a number of the private claims allowed by the 
Calcutta government must have been mere cases of 
patronage. Certain appointments were also similarly 
made Macleod was asked to resume his command at 
lyucknow without the Oudh sarkar having asked for it. 
A similar case was that of Capt. Granby Sloper. The 
Calcutta government decided in February 1786 that it 
would be better to have an English officer to command 
the bodyguard allowed by the nawab to Prince Jawan 
Bakht, who resided at lyucknow, and Sloper was appointed 
to the command which he held until his recall by Cornwallis 
in January 1787. Intending to return to England, he 
applied to the governor-general for the realisation of his 
claims upon the Oudh sarkar of Rs. 31, 340-9, 107 besides 
which he expected a lump sum in lieu of his 12 months' 
service without allowance. 10 * Cornwallis's reply 109 gives 
an idea of the state of affairs under the previous 
administration. He wrote that although he had expressed 
his opinion that British officers should not take private 
service under the sarkar and, therefore, in keeping with 
his views he could not do much on Sloper's behalf, yet 
being a friend of his father he had relaxed his rule and 
had said to Haider Beg that 

no demand was to be made upon the wazir, but for your [Sloper's] 
own pay and allowances and for money advanced by you to the 
effective men of your regiment. Judge then of my astonishment 
when Haider Beg answered with a smile that under that condition 
the payment of Capt. Sloper's regiment would not be very 
burdensome to his Excellency, for beyond an officer or two and a 
few orderlymen, he had every reason to be certain that no such 
corps ever existed. This answer. . . occasioned my making enquiries 

108 B.S.C. 2 Oct. 1786. 

107 B.S.C. 9 April 1787. 

108 B.S.C. 17 May 1787 Granby Sloper to Cornwallis 19 April. 

109 Cornwallis to Granby Sloper 14 May. 


through several channels, and I am obliged to say that the result 
of them has not been so contradictory as I could have wished 
to the minister's assertions. 

He demanded therefore a regular return giving the actual 
names of the commissioned and non-commissioned officers 
and privates in Sloper's regiment, attested by some 
respectable officers residing in I,ucknow, and said that if 
Sloper could satisfy him in that way, he would move further 
in the matter. The matter was either dropped or decided 
against Sloper, for the amount was not realised from Oudh. 
In any case, there appears no further reference to it in the 
subsequent proceedings of the Council. 

One of the first acts of Cornwallis in India was to arrive 
at a settlement with Oudh. For this purpose he inter- 
viewed Haidar Beg at Calcutta during February-March 
1787. He explicitly declared to the minister the principles 
on which, in his opinion, it would be expedient to continue 
friendly relations between the two governments. They 
were: (a) on the part of the Company, the government 
would totally abstain from interfering in the management 
of the revenue, commerce, and internal government of 
Oudh ; but that it would undertake the entire conduct 
of the sarkar's political negotiations with its neighbours, 
as well as the defence of Oudh from all external enemies ; 
and (b) that the Oudh sarkar would defray all civil and 
military expenses incurred by the Company in keeping 
the above engagements. 110 Negotiations were completed 
by the end of March, and a new financial settlement came 
into force in October 1787, with retrospective effect from 
i March 1787. In the meantime the sarkar had paid 
to the Company Rs. 18,59,758-10 to the end of February, 
which included the following refunds ordered by Corn- 

In January 1787 on account of balance 
due on Eraser's bonds 111 Rs. 62,088 

Money advanced to the Prince by 
the Resident at Benares and charged to 
the sarkar's debit in December 1786 . . . . 1,34,506 311 

110 Boss I 261-2 Cornwallis to the Secret Committee of the Court of 
Directors 4 March 1787. 

111 Appendix E. 


According to the old accounts the arrears due " oil 
I March 1787 were Rs. 34,92,940-7-1. By the new 
arrangement only Rs. i2,3O,5O5-o-2 112 of this were accepted 
as due from the sarkar and the rest written off. 113 

By the new arrangement 114 the Oudh sarkar engaged to 
pay to the Company Rs. 50 lakh a year, which Cornwallis 
had estimated would cover the expenses of the two brigades 
and the regiment at Lucknow, the residency and theallowances 
to Sa'adat Ali and the Rohillas, for which the Company's 
government were guarantee. It was agreed that if any 
considerable change in the number of the subsidiary force 
took place, readjustment in the subsidy would accordingly 
be made. The 'qists' (instalments) were fixed as follows: 

In cash every month Rs. 3,25,000 . . . . Rs. 39,00,000 

In drafts in August Rs. 5,00,000 

In drafts in the last month of the year . . Rs. 6,00,000 

Fyz. Rs. 50,00,000 

Cornwallis observed 115 that the sums obtained from 
Oudh during the last nine years averaged Rs. 84 lakh per 
year. It is to be noted that formerly the current dues 
amounted to between 30 and 40 lakh a year; it was the 
extras added later that made the figures so high. By Corn- 
wallis's arrangement the initial sum engaged to be paid, 
viz. Rs. 50 lakh, was higher than' the nominal engagements 
of the previous years, but the effective demands were from 
now on much more restricted. A few accessions were, how- 
ever, made to the dues of the sarkar after the new arrange- 
ment came into force. The sarkar, after having reimbursed 
the Company for the sum advanced by them to Prince 
Jawan Bakht, agreed to pay him through the Company a 
stipend of Rs. 25,000 a month. The Company included the 
sum in its monthly qists. This charge lasted till the death 
of the Prince on I June 1788, after which a monthly pension 
of Rs. 13,000 was continued to the family of the Prince. 

112 B.S. <fc P.O. 20 Nov. 1789. In discharge of this the sarkar paid 
separately during July-Aug. 1787 a sum of Rs. 11,18,972-6-10, the 
balance of Rs. 1,11,532-9-4 was carried over to the new series of 

113 B.L. 25 Cornwallis to Sec. Com. of Ct. of Dir. 17 May 1787. See 
Appendix J. 

114 Aitchison II No. L. 

116 B.S.C. 20 April 1787 GG's minute. 


In 1792 another son of Shah Alam, Mirza Haji Shigufta 
Bakht, took refuge in Oudh, and the nawab, in consultation 
with the governor-general, granted him a monthly stipend 
of Rs. 4,000 to be paid through the Company. 116 Another 
accession appears in the statement of the monthly account 
for October 1791 of a sum of Rs. 1,46,385-10-10 for mili- 
tary stores supplied by the Company from the time of 
Cornwallis's arrival to the end of 1788. Another addition 
made in the monthly qists of the Campany were the pen- 
sions paid to the mother of Muzaffar Jang, the nawab of 
Farrukhabad, her brother Dil Diler Khan, and Dip Chand, 
the late diwan. These amounted to Rs. 3,000 a month and 
were really due from the nawab of Farrukhabad, but since 
the Company's and the nawab's governments had stood 
guarantees for their regular payment, it was arranged that 
the Company's paymaster at Fathgarh would pay the 
pensions to the grantees, and that the Company would 
realise it from the Oudh sarkar, who in turn would realise 
it from the nawab of Farrukhabad as a part of the tribute 
paid by the latter. Dip Chand having died about April 
1790, this sum was reduced to Rs. 2,500 a month. 

Several claiins were preferred against the Oudh sarkar 
which were all rejected by Cornwallis, but some of which 
the ministers accepted as just and paid out of their own 
accord. One was the claim of I^t. James Anderson for 
Rs. 29,419-5-8 on account of arrears of salary and allow- 
ances as Resident with Sindhia; the other was that of 
Capt. Kirkpatrick for Rs. 5,000 on account of arrears of 
salary as agent to the Emperor. The governor-general 
decided that these were private claims and the Company's 
government had nothing to do with them. 117 But they 
were allowed by the minister 118 and were included in the 
settlement of arrears due on i March 1787. Towards the 
end of 1789, Haidar Beg paid Rs. 23,000 on account of 
Capt. Macleod's claim although Cornwallis had refused to 
put public pressure upon the sarkar in Macleod's favour. 119 

116 B.P.C. 6 Aug. 1792 Cornwallis to NW ; B.P.C. 24 Sep. 1792 Ives to 
Cornwallis 14 Sep. 

117 B.8.C. 24 Jan. 1787. 

118 B.S.C. 16 July 1787. 

119 B.S.C. 13 Nov. 1789 Johnstone to Cornwallis 25 Oct. 


The claims of Capt. Edwards and Major Darrell were 
accepted by the Board as well-founded, but being private 
debts were not countenanced by them. 120 Capt. Kennaway, 
who had accompanied Haidar Beg to Calcuttta in 1786, 
applied to be reimbursed for certain expenses he had had 
to incur during that journey. Both Harper and the gover- 
nor-general thought that the Oudh sarkar should pay him 
something, and Cornwallis suggested to Haidar Beg the 
sum of Rs. 2,000. 121 Probably due to the exultation on 
the success of his mission Haidar Beg allowed him Rs. 
10,000. 123 

Since Colonel Claude Mar tine had been paid for some 
time past through the Company, Haidar Beg thought that 
the 50 lakh included his salary also, and therefore stopped 
paying him from March 1787. Martine applied to the 
governor-general who pointed out to the minister that his 
salary had not been included in the Company's subsidy, 
since his services were of a private nature to the sarkar. 
For the same reason Cornwallis refused to take up Martine's 
claim. 123 Haidar Beg, however, acknowledged his mistake 124 
and settlement was made between him and Martine. 

In June 1788 the Resident inquired from the governor- 
general as to who was to bear the contingent expenses for 
the march of any part of the subsidiary force in the 
nawab's service, 135 to which Cornwallis replied that as 
those troops were completely provided with cattle and 
every other requisite for immediate movement, no con- 
tingent expenses should arise. If, however, any did arise, 
it was to be in the first instance charged to the Company's 
government, and after careful auditing it might be deci- 
ded whether a claim on the Oudh sarkar should be made. 126 

It took Cornwallis a year to put into order the accounts 
with Oudh. After October 1787, when the new settlement 
came into force, the accounts of the next ten years show 

120 B.L. 29 Military letter to the Ct. of Dir. 5 Nov. 1790. 

121 B.S.C. 25 June 1787 Cornwallis to Harper 21 June. 

122 Harper to Cornwallis 14 July. 

123 B.S.C. 12 May 1788 Cornwallis to Ives 10 May. 

124 B.S.C. 9 June 1788 Ives to Cornwallis 30 May. 

125 B.S.C. 16 June 1788 Ives to Cornwallis 3 June. 

126 Cornwallis to Ives 16 June. 


considerable relief. Debits, credits and balances tallied 
and very few extra demands were allowed. Owing to the 
extraordinary expenses on account of the war with Tipu, 
the Oudh sarkar offered to help the Company and in 
June 1791, the governor-general took a loan of 12 lakh 
of rupees, repayable in four instalments by the end of 
August 1793. 127 This debt was duly discharged, in fact 
before time. 

In spite of better regulated accounts, the Oudh sarkar 
became rather irregular in its payments of the qists to the 
Company. Betters between the governors-general and the 
Resident show that the ministers were almost invariably 
late in paying the qists, and only did so after repeated 
requests. On the other hand, when pressed they suddenly 
made an effort and liquidated a large part of the arrears. 
At the end of the first year of the new settlement (31 
March 1788) the arrears amounted to Rs. 7,61,173-12-10, 
reduced next year to Rs. 3,43,324-0-6. On 31 March 1790 
the arrears stood at Rs. 3,07,502-4-11, and on 31 March 
1791, Rs. 3,51,099-6-7. In the beginning of 1792, Haidar 
Beg became seriously ill and the payments became still 
niore irregular. The balance due on n March 1792 in- 
creased to Rs. 5,98,033-0-5. Haidar Beg died in June and 
a short period of confusion followed. The nawab's personal 
expenses and debts kept on increasing and the ministers 
could not pay the Company's qists regularly. As a measure 
of relief, Cornwallis in August 1792 gave the sarkar credit 
for the remaining six out of the 12 lakh of rupees lent to 
the Company in 1791, which was actually repayable in 1793. 
Yet the balance due on 31 March 1793 stood as high as 
Rs. 9,21,607-14-2, the highest between 1788 and 1797. 
Haidar Beg's successor, Tikait Rai, made great efforts and 
reduced the debt to Rs. 3,62,683-4-9 on i October 1793, 
just before Cornwallis left India. 

Tikait Rai made great efforts to be regular in paying the 
Company's qists, and for a time he succeeded. But the great 
laxity of the nawab's general administration and Asafud- 
daula's inordinate demands upon the public treasury for 

127 B.P.C. 21 Jan. 1791. 


personal expenses made it impossible for the minister to 
keep up the regularity. 128 The arrears mounted again after 
October 1793, and on 31 March 1794 it was Rs. 7,07,145-9-8. 
In December 1794, following the Rohilla rebellion, the 
nawab obtained 3,22,000 gold muhars from the Rohillas. 129 
This treasure was partly appropriated in liquidating the 
arrears due to the Company, which was reduced thereby 
to Rs. 4,46,464-12-0 on 31 March 1795. But the next year 
it again leapt up to Rs. 6,13,746-15-8. The cause for this 
lack of margin in the sarkar's finances have been ably 
expressed by Cherry. 130 For years past the exigencies of 
the sarkar had been met with by loans in which the higher 
the principle, the higher had been the rate of interest. One 
debt was paid off by contracting another at an increased 
rate of interest. The revenue was largely assigned over, 
either as security to some of those debts or in the form of 
deductions granted to the amils for the maintenance of the 
mutayyana or for other departments of the sarkar. Thus 
the resources of the country were no longer at the command 
of the ministers enabling them to draw upon them in times 
of emergency. Whatever ultimately came into the public 
treasury was further depleted by the nawab's demands for 
his private expenses. After the temporary relief obtained 
from the Rohilla treasury early in 1795, the difficulties of 
the ministers were doubled. No assistance could be had 
from the revenues; no banker would lend money to the 
sarkar because the Rohilla trouble demonstrated its real 
weakness and the bankers lost confidence in the sarkar ; 
and yet the nawab's demands did not relax. On 21 July 
1795 Cherry wrote to the governor-general that for paying 
up the arrears the ministers had no resource left except 
anticipating the ensuing year's revenue, which always 
meant loss to the sarkar and which, therefore, the nawab 
had disallowed. 131 

Such were the conditions which led Cherry to urge upon 
the nawab and his ministers the necessity for immediate 

128 B.P.C. 6 Dec. 1793 Ives to Shore 16 Nov. ; B.P.C. 22 Aug. 1794 
Cherry to Shore 12 Aug. 

129 Chapter II (v). 

130 B.P.C. 21 Feb. 1795 Cherry to GG 29 Jan. 

131 B.P.C. 1 Aug. 1795. 

17 129 

reform in the administration. He wrote to Shore, "Reform 
can only be expected to take place through our assist- 
ance/ 1132 To him was apparent what Shore .either did not 
realise or dared not undertake in defiance of the principle 
of non-interference, the principle in the name of which 
indeed he later recalled Cherry. The arrears of the subsidy 
kept increasing steadily, and on 31 March 1797 it amounted 
to Rs. 6,98,069-3-10. 

War broke out between England and France in 1793. 
This had its repercussions on the Company's finances in 
India ; the army in Bengal was increased and the resources 
of the Bengal government were strained. Shore became 
anxious to realise the arrears due from Oudh and secure 
the regular payment of the subsidy in future. He could 
see that it was really difficult for the ministers to produce 
ready money ; he therefore suggested to the Resident 
that he should induce the nawab to make over the 
revenues of some of his districts, particularly the Doab 
and Gorakhpore, in assignment for the discharge of the 
subsidy. 133 Warren Hastings had been the first to suggest 
such a course to Oudh, and it was repeated by Wellesley. 
But whereas Wellesley by his insistence on the point 
was successful, 1 " 1 Shore, not willing to go as far as 
Wellesley did later, failed to achieve the object. On 21 
July Cherry replied that he had not mentioned Shore's 
suggestion to the nawab as he foresaw that it would be 
vigorously opposed by the durbar jeopardizing the success 
of the plan of reform he had suggested to the nawab and 
his ministers. Moreover, he was optimistic about his plan 
of reform, and thought that if it was worked out, there 
would not be any necessity for territorial cession. In 
January 1796, however, he presented to Asafuddaula 
Shore's proposal of the cession of the Doab, Gorakhpore 
and the fort of Allahabad. As expected, he got no 
encouraging reply, and the proposal was apparently 
dropped by Shore. 

Cornwallis's financial settlement remained in force 

132 ibid. 

133 B.P.C. 26 June 1795. 

134 Chapter VIII. 


till April 1797 and was strictly adhered to by the 
Company's government. The Court of Directors having 
learnt that the nawab was actually reducing his military 
establishment 135 wrote on 22 April 1796 to the governor- 
general in council 130 after referring to their previous orders 
of increasing the Company's military establishment in 
Bengal : 

In order to relieve the Company from a considerable part of the 
expenses which this augmentation will unavoidably occasion, we 
direct that you make every possible effort to induce the wazir 
to disband his own useless oavalry, and apply a part of the Bums 
expended in their support to defraying a share of the additional 
charges incurred by the Company by the proposed augmentation. 

Shore visited lyucknow early in 1797, and on 20 
March he obtained the nawab 's consent to pay the 
bonafide expenses of two regiments of cavalry, provided 
it did not exceed Rs. 5^ lakh a year. 1 " 37 Asafuddaula 
did not very strongly object to this "from an idea per- 
haps that his acquiescence in this instance might induce 
the governor-general to relax in others," e.g. the demand 
for the banishment of Jhao Lai, etc. l: * 8 It was reported 138 
that the actual expenses of the two regiments exceeded 
Rs. 5| lakh a year, hence the sarkar's contribution was 
fixed at that sum. At the same time, the governor-general 
agreed to a reduction of Sa'adat Ali's stipend by one lakh 
rupees a year. uo The new arraiigment was to take effect 
from i April 1797. By it the annual subsidy from Oudh 
was fixed as follows : 

Annual subsidy as before . . . . Rs. 60,00,000 
Less reduction of Sa'adat Ali's 

stipend 1,00,000 

Rs. 49,00,000 

Subsidy for two regiments of cavalry 5,50,000 

Stipends to the Royal family at 

Benares and the Begam 2,04,000 

Total Rs. 56,54,000 

This settlement did not last long. Asafuddaula died 

135 B.P.C. I Feb. 1796 Cherry to GG 13 Jan. 

136 Home Misc. 236 f. 315-20. 
l!&7 Aitchison II No. LII. 

138 B.8.C. 27 Mar. 1797 Shore to Speke 21 Mar. 

139 B.S.C. 2 Jun. 1797. 

140 B.P.C 8 May 1797 GG's minute of 6 May. 

on 2i September 1797, and his reputed son and successor, 
Wazir AK, was deposed after four months in favour of 
Sa'adat Ali, on 21 January 1798.' A fresh treaty was 
concluded with Sa'adat Ali which was finally signed and 
sealed on 21 February I7g8. 141 By this treaty Sa'adat 
engaged to pay to the Company an annual subsidy of Rs. 
76 lakh. The excess of Rs. 19,22,362 over what Asafud- 
daula had engaged to pay 142 was in consideration of the 
Company having largely increased its military establish- 
ment in order both to defend Oudh and for the protection 
of its own dominions (Article 2). The subsidy was to 
be paid in monthly instalments of Rs. 6,33,333-5-4, the 
first instalment falling due on i February 1797. An 
annual allowance of Rs. 1,50,000 was made to Wazir Ali, 
to be paid through the Company, by monthly instalments 
of Rs. 12,500 (Article 5). Besides the regular subsidy, the 
nawab engaged to reimburse the Company for the 
expenses they had had to incur in establishing him on the 
musnad to the extent of Rs. 12 lakh (Article 10). He 
also agreed to "advance" sums not exceeding eight and 
three lakh rupees for the repairs of the forts of Allahabad 
and Fathgarh, respectively, the first within two years and 
the second within six months of the signing of the treaty 
(Article 8). Two articles of the treaty were somewhat 
vague and, as will be seen, 143 caused considerable contro- 
versy later. Of these, Article 7 has already been referred 
to, 144 the other was Article n. y this the nawab 

if, contrary to [his] sincere intentions and exertions . . . the pay- 
ment of the qist shall fall into arrear, [he] will then give such 
security to the Company for the discharge of the arrears, and the 
future regular payment of the qists, as shall be deemed 

* * # # 

It will be noticed from the above survey that the period 
up to 1798 can be divided into two broad sections with 

141 Aitchison No. LI II. 

142 In this treaty this sum is stated as Rs. 56,77,638, whereas in the settle- 
ment made in April 1797 it appears as Rs. 56,54,000. 

143 Chapter VIH. 

144 Chapter III. 


regard to the financial relations between Oudh and fche 
Company : (a) up to 1786, and (b) 1786-1798. During the 
first period very large sums of money had been realised 
from Oudh. That province had undoubtedly been used 
as a fruitful financial resource for the Bengal government 
when the latter was in monetary distress. Such was the 
case during the whole of the period of Warren Hastings' 
administration. Under Macpherson's government, patron- 
age added considerably to the Company's receipts from 
Oudh. During the whole of Cornwallis's administration 
England was at peace with France, her principal enemy 
in those days, and that helped him in carrying out his 
honest intention of not laying extra burdens upon the 
Oudh sarkar. From 1793, however, the Company's 
finances in India began to be unfavourably disturbed, but 
since Shore avoided war, he could still adhere to Corn- 
wallis's settlement until required by the Court of Directors 
in 1796 to realise something extra, which he did by his 
last agreement with Asafuddaula. These very consider- 
ations guided him in drawing up the treaty of 21 Febru- 
ary 1798. 



OUDH WAS more or less a self-sufficient country and 
did not do much commerce except in cloth. The 
earliest factory established by the company in 
Oudh was in 1640, l but the trade was never considerable. 
Besides cloth the other articles of trade in Oudh were 
(i) salt, of which there were three kinds, viz. Lahore, 
Sambhar and Khari; (ii) cotton, grown mostly on the 
southern banks of the Jamuna; also the bulk of the 
cotton from the Deccan passed through Oudh on its 
way to Bengal; (iii) indigo, grown in the Etawah district; 
(iv) saltpetre, of which the largest ever made amounted 
to about 50,000 maunds at about Rs. 2-8 a maund; and 
(v) a very small quantity of opium near Benares and 
Ghazipur. 2 The trade in all these with the Company was 
much less than that in cloth, which, too, was not very 
much; in 1786-7 it amounted to only about Rs. 2,90,000."* 

In February 1787 Cornwallis deputed G. H. Barlow 
(later governor-general) to investigate into and report 
under certain specific heads on "the exact conditions of 
manufacture of the Oudh cloth and the trade conditions 
and possibilities of investment in Oudh." 4 Barlow 
submitted a detailed roport on 27 May. 6 In this he traces 
the effects of the Company's investment in the cloth trade 
in Oudh and finds them to have been highly injurious to 
the interests of the Oudh sarkar and the native merchants. 
Previous to the introduction of the Company's investment, 
the trade of the country had been conducted by local 
merchants without any interference from the sarkar; the 

1 Moreland, W. H. Agrarian System of Moslem India (1929). 

2 B.S.C. 6 June 1787 Report of Barlow on the commerce of Oudh. 
Appendix VIII. 

3 Barlow's report. 

4 B.S.C. 23 Mar. 1787 Paper of instructions. 

5 B.S.C. 6 June 1787. 


markets were open to purchasers of every description, 
and the merchant and the manufacturer met on terms 
of perfect equality. The price of the goods was decided 
according to the true economic principle of the interaction 
of demand and supply and the consideration of marginal 
profit. Pre-emption was practically unknown except in 
rare commodities, where the first expenses were beyond 
the means of the manufacturers and advances were made 
by the merchants. Usually the manufacturers bought 
the raw material with their own cash or on their own 
credit. The introduction of the Company's investment, 
and with it the practice of giving advances to the 
weavers and the consequent right of pre-emption, brought 
about a revolution in the commerce of Oudh which acted 
greatly to the detriment of the country, firstly, by establish- 
ing a system highly unfavourable to the weavers, and 
secondly, by the exclusion of the native merchants. 

The Company's cloth had usually been provided at 
Tanda and Allahabad, at the latter place by advances to 
the weavers, and at the former, sometimes by advances 
and sometimes with .ready money, but always with the 
right of pre-emption. 6 This precluded all competitors and 
the price was dictated by the purchasers who were not 
always very honest. Then again, in Oudh there used to be 
a good demand for cloths cheaper and easier to manufacture 
than those wanted by the Company, for internal consump- 
tion or for export to the neighbouring states, on which the 
weavers could always make considerable profit. The 
Company's agents, backed by the Calcutta government, 
could always compel the weavers to attend to their demands 
first, employing them for the whole time and thus forcing 
them to forego much potential profit. Oudh suffered in 
another way. With the decline of the glory and splendour 
of Delhi and Agra, the market for the more costly materials 
produced in Oudh declined. The export of such stuff to 
Europe could have greatly compensated them had that 
trade been in the hands of the native merchants, but it 
had become an English monopoly. 

6 Barlow's report Appendix I. 


' Monopolies and rights of pre-emption are detrimental 
to the interests of commerce in any country ; they were 
much more so in Oudh where those privileges were enjoyed 
by a group of foreigners acting on behalf of a foreign 
state. The estimated loss in revenue to the sarkar, on 
account of the exemption from duties enjoyed by the 
English traders, was considerable. Tikait Rai informed 
Barlow that at the time of Asafuddaula's accession, the 
customs realised only in the suba of Oudh (i.e. such terri- 
tories as had descended to Shujauddaula from his father) 
amounted to five lakh ; in 1785 they had fallen to one 
and a half lakh. Many of the native traders also trans- 
ported their goods under the flag of the English merchants, 
thus evading the duties. 

Barlow's conclusion was that in no way was the 
Company's investment advantageous to the people or the 
government of Oudh. If the Company intended to continue 
it, it was to be solely for the Company's own benefit which 
did not amount to much. The amount invested in Oudh 
was small and the type of cloth for which the investment 
was made could be produced with equal facility in Bihar 
where there was margin for investing three times the sum 
invested in Oudh with equal advantage. Barlow had in- 
tended to trace the increase or decrease of the customs 
revenue in Oudh from 1764 to 1787 in order to trace the 
fluctuation in trade in different parts of the country, but 
his efforts were looked upon with suspicion by the sarkar 
and he abandoned them. He concluded with the re- 
commendation for an absolute withdrawal of the Company's 
investment in Oudh, which would confer a benefit on the 
merchants of Oudh without injuring the Company. If, 
however, the Board decided to continue the investment, 
the three possible ways for the provision of the cloth were, 
(a) contracting with the native merchants, (b) advertis- 
ing for the purchase of the cloth with ready money, and 
(c) by making advances to the weavers. As to the first 
mode, the native merchants unanimously declined to enter 
into engagement to supply the Company's demands. They 
maintained that not only the largeness of the quantity 
demanded, but the obligation to deliver it punctually at 


stated times at great distances from the places ' of 
manufacture, together with the many disadvantages arising 
out of the unsettled state of the country, rendered the 
enterprise too risky for them. It required all the tenacity 
of the English merchants and the backing of the Company's 
government to enable one to carry out such engagements. 
The second alternative, viz. buying in the open market 
for ready money, would tend to raise the prices abnor- 
mally and would be unprofitable for the Company. The 
only practicable mode was the third, viz. the making of 
advances to the weavers, which was the usual practice. 
Originally the advances had been made by the Company's 
agents not so much to enable the weavers to buy raw 
materials as to ensure the purchase. Gradually a right 
of pre-emption and monopoly came to be attached to 
those agents, and in some places, e.g. Tanda, where all 
competitors were totally excluded, they even ceased to give 
advances. Barlow considered that the system of giving 
advances, not through the Company's agents but through 
native contractors, to be the least injurious for either 
party. It is not quite clear how it would have been so, 
nor does Barlow explain that. It was, however, essentially 
a compromise, definitely against the true interests of Oudh. 
This report confirmed Cornwallis's view that the 
exemption from duties enjoyed by the English traders in 
Oudh, a right jealously guarded so far by the Calcutta 
government, had been detrimental to the interests of the 
Oudh sarkar and had afforded individuals with oppor- 
tunities "to practice the most scandalous frauds and 
oppressions," 7 and he determined to give up this privi- 
lege as well as to discontinue the Company's investments 
in Oudh cloth. 8 Provision for certain exceptions was 
made by an understanding between the governor-general 
and the nawab to take effect from 20 October 1787. They 
were for the grains, cattle, goats, sheep, ghee, beetelnuts, 
and tobacco passing from the Company's territory into 
Oudh intended for the consumption of the Company's 

1 B.L. 25 Cornwallis to Ct. of Dir. 4 March 1787. 
8 Bengal Sec. Lett. I No. 27 GG to the Gt. of Dir. 16 Aug. 1787 ; B.L. 
26 CorawaUia to Ct. of Dir. 16 Nov. 1787. 


trobps stationed in that country. In addition to the above, 
the governor-general requested that .similar exception be 
granted to all arms, clothing and militaiy stores similarly 
intended and despatched under proper certificates signed 
by the commanding officer or commissary of the bazar at 
each station. In case, however, these articles were later 
sold to ordinay individuals, the customary charges were 
to be made. 9 

One of the instructions from Cornwallis to the Resident, 
issued on I October 1787, was : 

In order to revive free trade, which is absolutely necessary for 
the prosperity of Oudh, as well as of the Company, there is to be 
no investment in Oudh on the Company's account. Prevent all 
claims of exemptions from duties, all pretensions to a right of 
pre-emption, in a word, all undue influence on the part of 
Europeans tending to create monopolies or any other improper 
advantages above the wazir's own subjects. At the same time, 
negotiate a commercial treaty which would save British subjects, 
European or Indian, from undue exactions. 10 

A commercial treaty was signed between the nawab and 
the Company to come into force from the first of the 
September following, if not sooner. 11 Its main provisions 
were : 

(i) Discontinuance of all exemptions from duty hitherto 
enjoyed by either party. 

(ii) All goods passing from one country to the other were to 
be accompanied by specifications of their quantity and valuation 
under the seal of the government of their country of origin. The 
importing country was to levy import duty on the declared 

(iii) Certain places were named where the collection of the 
duties were to be made. 

(iv) The duties to be levied on the various goods of import 
and export were specified. 

(v) Goods imported from one country to the other, having 
paid the import duty still to be subject to the established local 
market or 'ganj* duties if they were sold within that country ; 
but if intended for re-export, no such local duties were to be 

(vi) Heavy punishments were prescribed for illegal exactions 
and evasion of legal dues. 

(vii) The treaty was not to extend to Rohilkhand or Katihar, 
where the nawab retained the right of levying the customary 
* duties, and to increase and decrease them at his will. 

(viii) Disputes arising between the marchants of the two 

9 B.S.C. 24 Oct. 1787 GG to nawab 6 Oct. 

10 B.S.C. 8 Nov. 1787. 

11 Aitchison No. LI. 


countries were to be decided by the laws of the defendant's 

(ix) The nawab of Farrukhabad consented to relinquish the 
duties on cotton from the Deccan passing through his country 
on its way to Bengal. 

No mention of the exceptions referred to in Cornwallis's 
letter of 6 October was made in the treaty. 

This well-intentioned treaty was never properly carried 
out by the nawab's government due, no doubt, to the 
general lack of efficiency. The merchants often under- 
declared the value of the goods by about half, thus 
avoiding paying full duty, and the nawab's officers were 
alleged to be in collusion with them. 13 Some merchants 
avoided paying duty by loading their goods in boats 
supposed to be carrying goods for the nawab's personal 
use. 13 Duty was sometimes levied, contrary to the treaty 
provisions, on goods only passing through the nawab's 
territory. 14 Matters became worse after the death of 
Haidar Beg in 1792. 1S Johnstone, the acting Resident, 
blames Tahsin Ali Khan, the chief customs officer of the 
sarkar, for such irregularities. Tahsin was also the chief 
eunuch of the nawab and as such possessed great influence. 
He had obeyed even Haidar Beg with great reluctance 
and since his death had become absolutely independent. 
Hasan Raza Khan and Tikait Rai were unwilling to exert 
their authority at the risk of his enmity, and Johnstone 
thought that their fears were well-founded, "for such 
is Tahsin All's influence that though numberless exactions 
and oppressions were proved of Kundan I^al, one of his 
naibs, the power of Haidar Beg and the representations 
of the Resident could not procure his punishment, nor to 
this day has he settled his account with the sarkar." And 
yet it was the sarkar, not the offenders, that sometimes 
indemnified the sufferers. The internal trade of Oudh 
suffered much more from these illegal exactions, being in 
the hands of men "who possessed not the means of making 
known their wrongs." 16 Johnstone suggested, and the 

12 B.S.C. 30 March 1791 Stuart to NW & Haidar Beg. 

13 B.S.C. 18 May 1791. 

14 B.S.C. 13 July 1791 Ives to GG 2 July. 

15 B.S.C. 25 Jan. 1793 Johnstone to GG 8 Jan. 


ministers heartily agreed with him, that only the removal 
of Tahsin Ali could remedy the corruptions in the customs 
department to any appreciable extent. 

Cornwallis in his letter of 12 August I793 17 referred 
to the non-observance of the commercial treaty and the 
corruptions in the nawab's customs department. The 
chowkies on the rivers in Oudh realised heavy duties and 
tolls on goods passing and repassing by them 40 per cent, 
was levied on salt, 30 per cent, on saltpetre, 13 per cent. 
on indigo and 10 per cent, on sugar. 18 These exactions 
tended to restrict trade, and the prosperity of the country 
suffered as a result. Moreover, the 'sayar' or the road tax 
was let on farm which had very baneful effects. Cornwallis 
referred to the good effects arising out of the abolition of 
the internal customs barriers in the Company's provinces 
and recommended to the nawab the same course. The 
results would be cheapness of provisions in Oudh and 
encouragement to traders to transfer goods from where 
they were in plenty to places where they were wanted. 
A few chowkies on the frontiers, however, might be 
retained. He also strongly advised the removal of Tahsin 
Ali Khan. 

Cherry, during his residency, observed that not only 
were the legal duties evaded and illegal ones exacted, but 
the sarkar lost heavily from the officers' misappropriation 
of the customs revenues. He recommended in his plan of 
reforms that Cornwallis's suggestions be strictly "followed. 
But like all his other recommendations this one, too, was 
shelved during his disagreement with the nawab which 
ended in his recall. 

17 B.8.C. I Nov. 1793. 

18 By the treaty the duties had been fixed at 5 per cent, for each of those 




rHAS been mentioned earlier that the government of 
Oudh in the period under review was a military 
despotism The sarkar was expected to perform 
above all two things, to see that the revenues were duly 
collected, and to keep the country secure from foreign 
invasions. All questions of local improvement, the main- 
tenance of law and order, dispensation of justice, etc., 
were left to the amils. In an account of sarkar's expenses 
for 1205 F., the amount allotted for the officers of the court 
of justice is Rs. 4,158 of which only Rs. 577-8 was paid 
out. 1 The nawab was the source of all power and 
authority and a wise choice of officers and a strict 
supervision on his part were essential for the good working 

ih had kept 
. became 

of the system. The first three 
a constant watch on these 
different under 
maintaining the army's 
collections has already been 
supervision being absent, an 
mined by their popularity 
efficiency of the government 
nawabi of Asafuddaula. 

The Company was in more 
in the good government of Ou!fifi*ss&BGS&& l Fe in the 
military administration of Oudh has been seen in some 
detail. 3 As to the civil administration of the country, its 
solvency depended on an efficient government, and on its 
solvency depended the regular payment of the Company's 
subsidy. As Cherry expressed it, the alliance between 

1 B.P.C. 6 Aug. 1798. This was only for the capital. In the provinces 
the amils were responsible for the dispensation of justice and meeting 
the necessary expenses. 

2 Chapters III and IV. 

3 Chapters II and III. 


the Company and Oudh lost its value to the former unless 
the latter was "capable of bearing its due proportion of 
mutual defence, which is the first object of the alliance." 4 
In this way the Company was directly interested in the 
establishment of good government in Oudh. In the next 
place, lawlessness in the nawab's dominions, bordering on 
the Company's territories, might encourage bad characters 
in those frontier districts to commit crimes in the 
Company's territories and take refuge in Oudh. And 
lastly, since the two states were so closely allied, and 
everybody knew that Oudh depended greatly upon the 
Company and that the nawab had very little power to do 
anything without the Company's sanction, a bad system 
of government in Oudh would bring a stigma on the 
Company for sanctioning its continuance. 

Warren Hastings, hampered by a hostile council and an 
expensive war, had little chance of accomplishing any 
reform in the government of Oudh. Macpherson was per- 
haps not interested, being content with realising as much 
money as he could from there. The man who first turned 
his serious attention towards that pressing need was 
Cornwallis. In his minute of 20 April I787 5 he reviewed 
the administrative chaos in Oudh. Everything depended 
entirely upon the ministers, the nawab himself taking no 
other interest besides giving the sanction of his name and 
authority to the acts of his servants. Even this he did 
reluctantly, such was his dislike towards anything that 
had the appearance of business. Furthermore, he was so 
extravagant that he deliberately shut his eyes to -the 
acts of injustice his servants often perpetrated in order 
to supply him with funds. In the course of his inter- 
view with Haidar Beg in 1787, Cornwallis encouraged the 
minister to give effect to such reforms as would reinstate the 
nawab in the public esteem and stabilize the sarkar. He 
wrote several letters to Asafuddaula to the same effect, 
offering suggestions at the same time. Had he been left 
to act according to his judgment, he might have accom- 
plished something, but being confined by the orders of the 

4 B.P.C. ^ Aug. 1795 Cherry to GG 20 July. 
6 B.P.C. 20 April 1787. 


Court of Directors to a policy of non-interference he never 
went the required length. In the beginning he himself 
believed that mere advice and remonstrances would suffice, 
and he wrote in the minute above mentioned that not 
only the orders of the Court of Directors, but motives of 
policy and justice also led him to decide against actively 
interfering in the internal affairs of Oudh. But he soon 
changed his view. On 6 October 1789 he wrote to the 
Resident 6 that since the nawab had taken no notice of his 
repeated advice regarding the government of Oudh, the 
Resident was to make a strong representation, and should 
that fail to have the desired effect, the governor-general 
was resolved "to think of more effectual means of preventing 
discredit [ to himself ] and the entire ruin of his [ the 
nawab's ] country." As a fact, he had ceased to have 
any illusion of effecting sweeping reforms only by means 
of remonstrances. The Resident's representations did not 
have much effect and on 9 February 1790 he, following 
the instruction of Cornwallis, spoke to Haidar Beg about 
the want of the nawab's authority, the oppression of the 
ryot and heavy exactions by the amils and zamindars, ' 
all of which reflected upon the governor-general "for having 
continued that system of non-interference which has been 
made so ill use off." 7 

Cornwallis tried to effect reforms in the nawab's govern-^ 
ment by taking first Haidar Beg, and then Tikait Rai, 
in his confidence and encouraging them, through the 
Resident, to make a bold stand against Asafuddaula's 
habits of dissipation and extravagance. His instructions 
to the Resident were to avoid, both in reality and in 
appearance, any interference in the nawab's internal 
government, but to gain his confidence and that of the 
ministers, to keep a watchful eye on the latter and make 
timely remonstrance to the nawab when the people were 
oppressed in any way. He was also to see that the under- 
standing between the governor-general and the nawab 
regarding commerce 8 between the two countries was 

6 B.P.C. 7 Oct. 1789. 

7 B.P.C. 24 Feb. 1790 Ives to Cornwallis 9 Feb. 

8 Chapter V. 


adhered to, and to prevent any undesirable European 
adventurer from settling in Oudh. 9 Whenever the Resident 
thought that the circumstances demanded extraordinarily 
strong language or action, he was to leave them to the 
governor-general, except in cases of extreme emergency. 10 
But his method of indirect interference failed to achieve 
the object sought. 

Two letters of Cornwallis to Asafuddaula dated 29 
January and 12 August 1793 show that the former under- 
stood well the problem of reforming the Oudh government, 
but that in spite of his sincere desire to see it reformed, 
he failed to accomplish anything owing to his adherence 

~to the policy of non-interference. In the first of these 
letters 11 he mentions that he had early realised that one 
of the main obstacles to reforms had been the sarkar's 
financial difficulties, and that he had therefore done his 
best to relieve it by limiting the subsidy, relinquishing 
the exemption from duty formerly enjoyed by the 
Company's agents and private British traders in Oudh, 
and by suggesting a commercial treaty, but that after 

J five years he found that 

the evils which prevailed at the beginning. . .had increased, that 
[the sarkar's] finances had fallen into a worse state by an enor- 
mous accumulation of debt, that the same oppressions continued 
to be exercised by rapacious and overgrown amils towards the 
ryot, and that not only the subjects and merchants [of Oudh]. . . 
but those residing under the Company's protection suffered many 
exactions contrary to the commercial treaty from the customs 
house officers and from zamindars, amils, etc. 

Cornwallis is very outspoken in this letter and openly 
accused Asafuddaula of extravagance which compelled the 
ministers to adopt questionable means to meet his demands; 
his lack of interest in the good of his country; appointment 
of incompetent, even undesirable, men to important posts, 
e.g. Tahsin Ali Khan as the chief customs officer and Raja 
Jhao I^al in charge of the intelligence department/ These 
were, in fact, the chief obstacles to the reformation of the 
Oudh administration, and these having gone on for a very 
long time had become rooted in the country. In his letter 

9 B.P.C. 8 Nov. 1787 Cornwallis to Ives 1 Oct. 

10 B.P.C. 4 Jan. 1788 Cornwallis to Ives 29 Deo. 1787. 

11 B.P.C. 28 Jan. 1793. 


of 12 August I793 12 Cornwallis elaborately discussed these 
problems and suggested the principles of reformation and 
improvement, leaving the details to be filled in by the 
nawab and his ministers. 

In the first place he suggested that as the nawab was 
the head of all affairs, he must himself demonstrate his 
sincere and determined intention to carry out the necessary 
reforms. If he voluntarily reduced his own expenses, it 
would serve as example to others and would show his 
determination +o stand no nonsense from his servants. In 
the second place, the success of the ministers depended 
solely upon the countenance and support given them by 
the nawab; he must, therefore, select his responsible minis- 
ters very carefully, and having chosen them give them his 
entire support. Favourites should not be allowed to in- 
terfere in public business. In order to inspire confidence in 
the minds of the bankers, who would be required to supply 
the sarkar with money in times of emergency, the nawab 
should arrange speedily to pay up all sums due to them. 

Next he recommended the establishment of two courts 
at Lucknow, one for the distribution of civil and the other 
for criminal justice. All cases except those that related to 
revenue should be referred to these courts for trial and 
decision and to no other person whatsoever. The nawab 
should take care that these courts were properly regulated, 
for without control courts could become mere instruments 
of oppression. Therefore, the judges should be men of 
acknowledged good character, learning and abilities equal 
to their duties, and no person brought under trial should be 
given any special protection. The judges should be liber- 
ally and regularly paid to keep them above corruption. 

Cornwallis commented on the practice of accumulating 
several offices in one person which made them free to act 
as they chose without any check or control. He advised 
separation of offices. There should be the following 
officers distinct from each other the diwan, who was to 
superintend all affairs relating to revenues; the treasurer, to 
receive all sums coming to the sarkar from the districts; 

12 B.P.C. I Nov. 1793. 

tKe paymaster, to issue salaries, pensions and charges 
authorised by the sarkar; the functions of the treasurer and 
paymaster should be precisely defined and kept distinct 
from one another. Under the diwan should be various 
subordinate officers, to record receipts, enter accounts, etc., 
and for all these officers distinct regulations should be 
drawn up. It should be the duty of the ministers to 
superintend and control the whole system and to see that 
each officer executed his proper appointed function, to 
support them in the discharge of their respective duties and 
to see that they were affected by no outside interference. 
Cornwallis referred to the administrative systems of Akbar 
and Aurangzeb as examples. 

He next went on to suggest some means for the 
collection of revenue. He condemned the system of farm- 
ing it out as being ruinous and "the resource of a weak 
and indolent government which looked only to temporary 
convenience without any regard to the interests of the 
people at large." Added to this there were various 
undesirable practices current in Oudh, e.g. the appointment 
of the farmers from year to year, and their frequent removal 
even in the course of a single year; the sarkar 's demand 
of 10 to 15 per cent, on their stipulated rents as 'peshgi' 
(advance) at the time of the investiture; the issuing of 
'tankhwahs' (assignments) upon them before collections 
began. Moreover, the amils were permitted to entertain 
and pay the taynat (regular troops) in their districts and 
nominate all the subordinate officers in them. The results 
were fairly obvious an amil on appointment considered 
the country as sold to him for a short period and it was 
in his interest to make the most of it while his possession 
lasted. Often he had to borrow from the bankers, at 
very high rates of interest, the amount he was required 
to pay as peshgi or on account of the issue of tankhwahs, 
and invariably made out of the rents the interest he had 
to pay on those sums. Sometimes his position was seriously 
jeopardized, even his life endangered, by the unpaid troops 
in whose favour the tankhwah had been granted. 13 The 

13 Ghulam All describes one such case, Imad-us-Ra'adat 121-2. 


troops being paid by the amils and their officers having 
been appointed by them considered themselves the amils' 
rather than the sarkar's servants. Then again, many of 
the amils were only nominal, the persons really interested 
in the collection were some men attached to the durbar 
at I/ucknow. These men by their influence with the nawab 
or the ministers saved their delegates in the districts from 
being punished for any enormities committed upon the 
ryot. Cornwallis sums up the situation thus: "The reve- 
nues are collected without system, by force of arms... 
the amils are left to plunder uncontrolled and the ryot 
have no security from oppression nor means of redress for 
injustice exercised upon them/' He emphasised the need 
for appointing really upright men, which 'was the first step 
to any reform at all. He recommended the abolition of 
the farming system and the adoption of the 'amani' 
system, i.e. collection directly on behalf of the sarkar, 
making the amils its officers rather than contractors, 
through whom the sarkar could, in due course, rectify 
the existing abuses. Where it was found necessary to farm 
out the mahals, it should be done for a number of years. 
Me did not intend the exclusion of the zamindars, but 
suggested that settlements should be made with them 
for a term of several years. After the appointment of the 
amils, the next step should be to fix for them allowances 
to maintain a sihbundy. Trustworthy officers should be 
appointed to keep records of all the transactions of the 
amils, about the sihbundy, of all papers and accounts 
relating to the revenues, e.g. pattas, qabuliats, qistbundies, 
amilnamas, the daily receipts and issues of money, etc., 
and the amils should not have the power of dismissing 
these officers at pleasure. No peshgi was to be demanded 
by the sarkar, nor should the grant of any tankhwah be 
made upon the anticipated revenues. The amils should 
not be permitted to spend anything beyond their establish- 
ment, and the revenues as received by them should be 
duly remitted to the treasury at Lucknow. The qist- 
bundies of the revenues should be made to correspond 
with the mufassil receipts, i.e. the receipt of rent from the 
ryot, so as to preclude the necessity for the amils to borrow 


the amounts falling due to the sarkar before the actual 
collections were made. The sadar officers (officers at 
the capital) of the sarkar should be very carefully chosen 
and they should adjust at the end of every fasli year the 
wasul-baqi (receipts and arrears) with the amils. 

All these Cornwallis stated to be only the beginning 
of the vast reforms necessary, which, a start being thus 
made, should be possible to be accomplished successfully. 
As to the establishment of civil and criminal courts in 
the districts, the governor-general thought that just at 
that moment they might act prejudicially to the authority 
of the amils and upset collections. The people must get 
used to the idea of public justice, and mufassil courts 
might be established later. But the power often exercised 
by the amils of inflicting capital punishment should never 
be permitted them. 

The attention of Shore, too, was early attracted towards 
the question of the reform of the Oudh administration. 
On i May 1794 he wrote 14 to the Resident expressing anxiety 
at the nawab's not having adopted any measures in con- 
formity with Cornwallis's letter of 12 August 1793. But 
whatever desires he had to see the Oudh government 
reformed was set at naught by his unwillingness to depart 
from the principle of non-interference. Cherry, who had 
been appointed Resident on 17 April 1794, took up very 
enthusiastically the work of reform. He noticed the 
cumulative effect of years of mis-government, aggravated 
particularly by the negligence of Asafuddaula. Shore 
urged him to get the reforms effected along the lines 
recommended by Cornwallis. 15 Cherry at first tried to do 
what he could through the acting minister, Tikait Rai, but 
progress was so slow as to amount practically to nothing, 16 
and after about six months he lost all hopes" of accom- 
plishing anything through the minister. 17 Economy 
seemed to him the first step necessary. Having failed to 
encourage the minister to make a bold stand against 

14 B.P.C. 2 May 1794. 

15 B.P.C. 15 Aug. 1794 Shore to Cherry. 

16 B.P.C. 4 Aug. 1794 Cherry to Shore 25 Jun. 

17 B.P.C. 29 Sep. 1794 Cherry to Shore 2 Sep. 


Asafuddaula's caprices, he thought of directly influencing 
the latter. Shore gave him a timely warning that all that 
the Resident was expected to do was to coax the nawab to 
act more sensibly. 1 ! 8 Cherry retained some confidence in the 
nawab 19 and thought that once rid of his evil companions 
and made to pay attention to the work of government, 
Asafuddaula could be made to do all that was required of 
him. He hoped that he could reform him, but he hoped for 
too much. On 5 April 1794 he had a long interview with the 
nawab and spoke very frankly what was in his mind. 
Asafuddaula listened with apparent interest and promised 
to do all that was suggested. He summoned Tikait Rai 
and ordered him to consult freely with Cherry on the 
affairs of the state and to keep nothing secret from him. 20 
This was a very encouraging start and Shore advised 
Cherry to avail himself fully of this opportunity, avoiding 
however all semblance of direct interference with the 
nawab's executive government, for that would give his 
counsellors a chance to turn his mind against the English. 
The reforms should seem to arise from the suggestions of 
the nawab himself, and the Resident's attitude should be 
that of a disinterested well-wisher. 21 

On 10 June Cherry saw Asafuddaula and another frank 
conversation took place between them. 22 The nawab 
accepted everything that Cherry said except that Oudh 
was really threatened by a Mahratta invasion, of which, 
he said, there was no fear so long as he remained friendly 
with the Company. To this Cherry replied that if Asafud- 
daula wished to retain the Company's friendship, he must 
do his share as desired by it by making his government 

18 B.P.C. 21 Feb. 1795 GG to Cherry 25 Feb. * 

19 He wrote : "He possesses a comprehension sufficiently extensive to 
include all the grand outlines of the arrangements, .necessary towards 
the good order of his affairs, and notwithstanding the long period 
which has passed since his accession in total inattention to them, he 
commands an authoiity and reqpect perfectly ample for all purposes, 
more probably by virtue of that reverence paid by his subjects to his 
station then to his person ; but his mind has been so long a stranger 
to business that it will be wonderful indeed should he devote his time 
to it now." B.P.C. 17 April 1795 Cherry to Shore 6 April. 

20 B.P.C. 17 April 1796 Cherry to Shore 6 April. 

21 B.P.C. 24 April GG to Cherry 21 April. 

22 B.P.C. 26 June Cherry to Shore 13 June. 


efficient. Asafuddaula complained of his huge debts and 
the extravagance of the Court officials who had overgrown 
in power and whom he dared not reduce for fear of rebel- 
lion. Cherry offered to draw up a plan for the discharge 
of his debts and of general reforms provided he got all the 
information he wanted. Asafuddaula accepted the offer 
and promised to supply him with all the required informa- 

On being informed of this development Shore sent the 
following suggestions to Cherry: 23 

(a) A thorough investigation into the accounts should be 
made, and detailed statements of all receipt and expenditures 
of the sarkar were to be drawn up. The disbursements of the 
nawab, whether public or private, were to be brought within 
the bounds of his income. 

(b) The nawab should make sure of realising the present 
revenues in time before thinking of augmentation ; that is, there 
should be a better control over the amils before any change in the 
settlements was contemplated. 

(c) The mutayyana charged for by the amils but not main- 
tained provided a wide field for retrenchment. 

(d) The Court officials should be made to refund whatever 
they had made dishonestly. Shore was, however, doubtful 
whether the Company's government could assist the nawab in 
this direction. 

(e) The payments of the Company's subsidy must be the pri- 
mary object of all readjustments. 

(/) Cornwallis's suggestions were to be followed as far as 

(g) Should the nawab ask for pecuniary assistance from the 
Company, the Resident was to make sure that reforms were 
actually being carried out on the lines above suggested, and then 
he was to make his recommendation to Calcutta. 

(h) Tikait Bai was not to be dismissed until a better or at 
least as good substitute was found ; Jhao Lai was in no circums- 
tance to be allowed to replace him. 

(i) The Resident should try to persuade the nawab to hand 
over the fort of Allahabad to the Company and make over the 
revenues of the Doab and Gorakhpore in assignment for the dis- 
charge of the Company's subsidy. 

Shore was obviously primarily interested in the regular 
receipt of the subsidy. In the meantime, on 20 June 
Asafuddaula delivered the following paper to Cherry detail- 
ing his own plan of management to begin with 1203 F. 
(1795-6), subject to the governor-general's approval: 24 

23 B.P.C. 26 June 1796 Shore to Cherry 24 June. 

24 B.P.C. 1 Aug. 1795. 


(i) The 'bandobast' (settlement) of the country to be made 
after a thorough 'tashkhees' (investigation) for five years com- 
mencing with 1203 F. ; increases or decreases to be made after 
another investigation after the five years. 

(ii) He would limit his expenses to his income and see that 
the Company's subsidy was regularly paid. 

(iii) He confessed having no means of paying the arrears of 
the interests due on his debts. He would, therefore, repay the 
principal, as should be found to be just after examination. He 
invited the governor-general's mediation, through the Resident, 
in this matter, so that the creditors abided by the decision 
arrived at. 

(iv) No tankhwahs would in future be granted on the country, 
either for the troops or for any other purpose. All receipts 
would be required to be paid into the public treasury, and all 
disbursements made from there. The tynaty troops to be paid 
at the spot where they were employed. 

(v) The subsistence of the nawab 's servants to be decided by 
the nawab himself. He promised to reduce excessive emoluments, 
but "no recommendations shall come from the Eastward;" the 
Resident was to see that none did. 

(vi) All correspondence between the nawab and the governor- 
general, or between the nawab and the Resident, relative to the 
affairs of the sarkar, to be strictly secret. In the public offices 
men selected by the nawab were to be appointed. 

(vii) The governor -general and the Resident were to see that 
no Englishman, either in or out of the Company's employ, inter- 
fered with the nawab's affairs. 

(viii) The Resident was to give his free and unreserved opinion 
and suggestions to the nawab, who would carry them out 

According to Cherry, neither Asafuddaula nor his ministers 
were capable of controlling the executive, and he thought 
that that opportunity should be taken "to substitute the 
Company as the control, for the sole purpose of keeping in 
force whatever system may be adopted for a limited 
period until there was found a capable man for taking over 
control." 35 

On 20 July 1795 Cherry submitted to Shore for 
approval an elaborate plan of reforms in both the civil 
and military administrations of Oudh, of which the military 
part has already been dealt with. In the civil department 
the principal work was the superintendence of finance. 
Cherry recommended that the receipts and disbursements 
should be centralised and carried out at the same place, 
so that supervision became easier. Receipts should first 
be made secure and then only any attempt to increase 
them should be made. The receipts of Oudh, consisting 

25 Cherry to Shore 20 July. 

mainly of land revenue, had tended to decline owing to 
the bad state of agriculture and to the existence of many 
intermediaries between the cultivators and the treasury. 
The first should be improved and the latter removed as 
far as possible. Wherever possible land should be held 
in 'khas' or as crown land, and where it was found 
necessary to adopt the 'ijara' or the farming system, long 
leases should be made, the nawab's suggestion of five 
years being a reasonable period. For the ijara, the 
rent should be determined by a thorough investigation of 
the extent and the productivity of the districts, and 
convenient instalments settled. For the khas holdings, 
payments should be made at the Lucknow treasury as far 
as possible, minute accounts being kept by Tikait Rai 
and his assistant Hulas Rai. These officers should be 
kept under the strict supervision of the Company exercised 
through the nawab, and for this purpose the Resident 
should be furnished with the terms of the settlements 
when made and be permitted to post a man on his own 
part at the treasury or devise some means to acquaint 
himself of the receipts at the treasury. The details of 
the process of collection Cherry leaves to be drawn up 
later, referring to Cornwallis's suggestions for the general 

Having dealt with the receipts, the Resident next goes 
on to tackle the more difficult question of disbursements 
consisting of two main items, (a) disbursements of the 
state, i.e. "such as are absolutely necessary for preserving 
order and respect, within and without the Empire, for 
securing the revenues and for performing stipulated engage- 
ments," and (b) the nawab's personal expenses, including 
those for his relations and dependents. It was desirable 
to reduce the number of such pensioners, but practically 
very little could be done towards that end without creating 
a great outcry and incurring much unpopularity, both by 
the nawab and the Company. Rather sweeping reductions 
in pensions was one of the causes of Sa'adat Ali's unpopu- 
larity as will be seen in a later chapter. The sums which 
the nawab was by custom compelled to pay, e.g. the 


Emperor's and the Prince's allowances, nazars, etc., were 
also included under the second head. 

Cherry recommended that the state disbursements 
should be first provided for from the receipts. They were 
(i) military expenses, (ii) stipulated engagements, obviously 
meaning the Company's subsidy and the debts, (iii) charges 
of collection and (iv) the policing of the country. The first 
two items should be paid out of the Lucknow treasury; 
the payment of (iii) and (iv) to be regulated as the systems 
for collection and policing might be established, either by 
transfers in the accounts or by remittance from Lucknow, 
as it was necessary that they should be paid on the spot. 
The nawab's personal expenses, he maintained, must occupy 
a secondary place depending on the balance left after 
meeting the state demands. In this again the nawab's 
private expenses, e.g. entertainments, animals, household, 
etc., should come last. 

A third and very complicated item of disbursement 
was the payment on account of the debts and their interest. 
As has been seen, debts had accumulated tremendously and 
the interest agreed upon was ruinous. Cherry not knowing 
their exact amount could not draw up any detailed plan 
with regard to them. To him the following things seemed 
to be in general necessary: that the debts be funded; that 
a sum, depending on the receipts, be set aside annually and 
the creditors paid proportionately out of that; and that 
the rates of interest be radically revised. 

When these civil and military reforms had been accom- 
plished, attention should be turned towards commerce and 
the administration of justice. In these matters Cornwallis's 
suggestions should be followed. Finally, Cherry remarked 
that the reasons why these obviously necessary measures 
had not so long been adopted were, firstly, Asafuddaula 
had never paid any attention to the question of reform, 
and secondly, the ministers having been absolutely devoid 
of courage had gone on humouring their master, without 
ever trying seriously to bring him round. The Company's 
control, he said, was necessary if it was intended that any 
reform at all should be carried out. From his observations 


Clierry concluded 26 that while Asaf uddaula was not quite an 
imbecile and certainly had counsellors capable of dictating 
the plan of reform Asafuddaula had submitted, there was 
at the same time a strong force opposing its execution, 
probably in the person of Raja Jhao I^al and his underlings. 
He further came to the conclusion that the reforms were 
not impeded by any doubts or suspicions toward the 
English and that "reform could only be expected to take 
place through [the Company's] assistance." Tikait Rai 
also told Cherry that the first thing to be done, viz. the 
reduction of the nawab's personal expenses, could only be 
performed by the Company's efforts. 27 Asafuddaula gave 
repeated assurances to Cherry of working out the reforms, 
but he did nothing. On 18 August 1795 Cherry wrote to 
Shore that the nawab seemed to be wavering in his good 
resolutions, but that he still retained hopes of bringing him 
round. On 12 August Shore wrote to him, "The confidence 
which he [Asafuddaula] professes in this government, his 
appeal to its assistance and his declared determination to 
adopt its recommendations, afford sufficient authority for 
our interference, in suggesting, promoting and controlling 
the plan of reformation," 28 and one on 25 August to the 
nawab encouraging him to stick to the line of reforms he 
had so well started. 2y 

The statements of accounts which Cherry had asked for 
were not delivered to him until 26 February 1796, and in 
another two months he practically lost all hopes/ It was 
.at this time that Shore, somewhat incompatibly with his 
letter of 12 August 1795, repeated his note of warning to 
Cherry against too much interference in the internal affairs 
of Oudh,* 1 accompanied by a coaxing letter to Asafud- 
daula asking him to confide completely in the Resident and 
to carry on the work of reform/ 2 Before these letters 
reached I/ucknow, Cherry saw Asafuddaula at the durbar 

26 Cherry to Shore 21 July. 

27 B.P.C. 14 Aug. 1795 Cherry to Shore 29 July. 

28 B.P.C. 14 Aug. 1795. 

29 B.P.C. 4 Sep. 1795 GG to NW. 

30 B.P.C. 2 May 1796 Cherry to Shore 23 April. 

31 Shore to Cherry 30 April. 

32 Governor-general to nawab-wazir. 


on 28 April where he had the satisfaction of not finding 
Raja Jhao Lai. Asafuddaula expressed his confidence in 
him and asked him to draw up a further detailed plan of 
reform. This was done the same afternoon and the nawab 
approved of it. It contained, besides recommendations for 
military reorganization, the following suggestions: (a) al- 
though the revenues of the country had improved yet the 
sarkar lost much through embezzlement and abuses which 
prevailed under the pleas of remission, etc. Tikait Rai 
(who had been dismissed by the nawab early in 1796) had 
had experience in the revenue department, and he should 
therefore be appointed diwan with exclusive rights; (b) a 
fund for the discharge of the debts be established; (c) the 
treasury, formerly under Tikait Rai and later given in 
charge of Raja Bachraj, should be strictly supervised by 
the nawab himself; and (d) the nawab should summon his 
faithful officers and give them tokens of honour and his 
confidence. 3ci Asafuddaula, according to the Resident's 
suggestion, defined clearly the duties of the various officers, 
which would ' 'ensure the most important object of the 
recommendations of [ the Calcutta ] government, viz. that 
no dangerous trust is placed in the hands of any indivi- 
dual." 34 Hasan Raza Khan was appointed bakhshi 
(paymaster) of all the forces and was given full power over 
the military establishment of the state, subject to no con- 
trol except the nawab 's; Tikait Rai was appointed diwan 
and Raja Bachraj to the treasury. Jhao I/al could not be 
entirely got rid of, Asafuddaula insisted on appointing him 
to take charge of his household. 

Shore completely disapproved of these arrangements be- 
cause it appeared to him that the nawab's consent had 
not been voluntary/ 5 He was right, and on 29 May he 
received from Asafuddaula a long complaint against the 
Resident 36 which led him to dismiss Cherry from that post. 
After ha ving sent to Calcutta his complaints against Cherry, 
the nawab became openly hostile towards him and 

33 B.P.O. 6 May 1796. 

34 B.P.C. 20 May 1796 Cherry to Shore 9 May. 

35 B.P.C. 6 May Shore to Cherry. 

36 B.P.O. 13 June Nawab-wazi* to governor-general. 


conferred the diwani and the bakhshigari on his two reputed 
sons, Wazir Ali and Raza All, aged about 15 and 12, 
respectively, without even consulting him. 37 The ages of 
the young princes made them necessarily dependent upon 
some one who would have the real power, and that person 
was certain to be Raja Jhao Lai. 

Lumsden, who succeeded Cherry, found that Asafud- 
daula apparently identified his own interests with those of 
the Company, but that he was very fickle, and Jhao Lai, 
knowing that the nawab's pleasure was the only asset he 
had, kept him well pleased by humouring every little 
caprice of his. Asafuddaula, in order to shield his 
favourite, made a show of attending personally to every 
business of the state. 38 The nawab's administration 
showed no signs of improving during the months following 
Cherry's dismissal, and the influence of Jhao Lai remained 
undiminished. Shore paid a visit to Lucknow early in 
1797 and secured the banishment of Jhao Lai and the 
appointment of Tafazzul Hussain as the chief minister. 
Asafuddaula never got on well either with Lumsden or 
with Tafazzul Hussain, and the few months that he lived 
after Jhao Lai's banishnent were spent in continuous 
squabbles between him on the one hand and the minister 
and the Resident on the other. In such circumstances 
practically nothing could be accomplished by way of 

37 B.P.C. 17 June Cherry to Shore 1 June. 

.38 B.P.C. 2 Jan. 1797 Lumsden to Shore 24 Dec. 1796; B.P.C. 24 Feb. 
1797 Lumsden to Snore 23 Jan. 




SINCE the passing of the Act of 1784 the first active 
interference by the Company in the affairs of Oudh 
took place early in 1797 when Shore secured the 
dismissal of Jhao I^al and the appointment of Tafazzul 
Hussain as the nawab's chief minister. The year was 
hardly over when Shore became responsible for the replace- 
ment of one nawab by another. Asafuddaula died on 
21 September 1797 and on the same day his reputed son 
Wazir Ali was recognized nawab by the elder Begam 
(Asafuddaula's mother), the noblemen of Oudh and the 
Resident. The new nawab expressed to Lumsden his sole 
dependence on the protection and support of the English 
and promised to take no step without the advice of the 
Resident and Tafazzul Hussain. 1 He was then about 17 
or 18 years of age and appeared to lyumsden as being of 
mild disposition and likely to keep his promise. Although 
it was generally believed that he was not in fact Asafud- 
daula's son, yet the late nawab had adopted him as such 
and he had been brought up from his infancy as the 
heir-apparent to the masnad. "On the whole," wrote 
lyumsden, "I am persuaded that no person could have been 
found equally unexceptionable. 1 ' 

Shore, who was aware of the popular belief about 
Wazir Ali's birth, but of the truth of which he could 
discover no more solid foundation than hearsay, decided 
that "it would be very dangerous principle [for the 
Company's government] to assume to withhold [its] 
acknowledgment to his succession on the sole ground of 
popular report in opposition to the repeated declaration 
and acts of his reputed father for a long series of years." 2 
Besides, he went on, Wazir Ali had been recognized by the 

1 B.S.C. 29 Sep. 1797 Lumsden to Shore 22 Sep. 

2 Governor -general's minute. 


elder Begam and the nobility of Oudh, in which circums- 
tances he had the ostensible right of succession and the 
Company's government had no right, upon any grounds, to 
dispute it, or to suppose claims or objections which had not 
been preferred. He, therefore, instructed Lumsden formally 
to recognize Wazir Ali on behalf of the Company, to inform 
the officers commanding the Company's troops in Oudh 
of the succession, to take measures for the maintenance 
of order in case any rising took place, and ordered a salute 
to be fired from Fort William proclaiming Wazir Ali's 
succession. The Resident at Benares was instructed to 
stop Sa'adat Ali, Asafuddaula's brother and next in succes- 
sion, who resided in Benares, from proceeding to lyucknow, 
by force if necessary. 

Three days after Asafuddaula's death, Mirza Jangli 
and other sons of Shujauddaula residing in Lncknow 
saw Lumsden and told him that they did not wish to 
dispute Wazir Ali's succession, but knowing his low origin 
they could not pay him the customary nazars nor show 
the outward marks of respect which they used to do to 
Asafuddaula. 3 This set Shore thinking and on 30 Septem- 
ber he ordered lyumsden to hold a secret inquiry about 
Wazir Ali's birth. 4 But on the same day he received 
letters from Wazir Ali, the elder Begam and Tafazzul 
Hussain, which signified their total acceptance of the nawab, 
and Shore had no hesitation in ordering the confirmation 
of his original resolution of accepting Wazir Ali, and the 
cancellation of the inquiry. 5 He also thought that any 
such inquiry must be incomplete and unsatisfactory and 
would somewhat discredit the Company's government 
for being inconsistent. He decided, however, that if any 
claims were preferred against Wazir Ali, the inquiry might 
be resumed. A letter of condolence on his father's death 
and one of congratulation on his accession were written 
to Wazir Ali. 6 

The order cancelling the inquiry did not reach Lucknow 

3 B.8.C. 2 Oct. 1797 Lumsden to Shore 24 Sep. 

4 Shore to Lumsden 30 Sep. 

5 GG's minute. 

6 B.S.C. 2 Oct. 1797. 


till 8 October. In the meantime the Resident had had talks 
with various persons of note in Lucknow from which 
he concluded that it was universally believed that 
Wazir Ali was not born of Asafuddaula, but none could 
suggest any evidence except hearsay. Undoubtedly he 
was born in the nawab's zanana about May 1780 ? and 
the nawab had declared him his eldest son in the presence 
of Sir Eyre Coote who was at that time in I/ucknow. 8 On 
28 September, Hasan Raza Khan at a private interview 
with I/umsden had seemed inclined to favour some surviv- 
ing son of Shujauddaula, though he did not openly denounce 
Wazir Ali. 9 On receiving the governor-general's order 
of the 3Oth, however, the Resident suspended the inquiry. 

On 4 October Shore received a letter from Sa'adat Ali 10 
claiming the masnad of Oudh on the ground of his being 
the eldest surviving member of the line of Safdar Jang, 
Wazir Ali having no relationship with Asafuddaula. This 
letter made Shore resume the inquiry, and Bristow, who 
had been Resident at I^ucknow informed him 11 that 
Wazir Ali had been introduced to him by Asafuddaula as 
his son between 1783 and 1784, and that he was then 
between two and three years of age. On 17 October the 
governor-general received another letter from Sa'adat Ali 
offering to fulfil all the engagements between the Company 
and Asafuddaula if the former helped him in gaining the 
masnad. Shore carried on his investigations and arrived 
at the following facts: 13 

(i) If the right of succession was denied to the 
"children" of Asafuddaula, Sa'adat Ali, as the eldest sur- 
viving son of Shujauddaula, became according to the 
Muslim law the undoubted successor to the masnad. The 
fact that his mother was not married to Shujauddaula did 
not affect his right, (ii) Asafuddaula had notified to the 
Calcutta government of the birth of three children, in March 
1779, and in May and September 1780. The birth of the 

7 Obviously an error. See infra. 

8 B.8.C. 16 Oct. 1797 Lumsden to Shore 7 Oct. 

9 Lumeden to Shore 28 Sep. 

10 B.8.C. 20 Oct. 1797. 

11 Bristow to Shore 10 Oct. 

12 GG's minute. 


first was announced by artillery fire and public rejoicing, 
and although the mother was not married to Asafuddaula, 
following the usage of the country the child had been 
accepted as the immediate heir, (iii) All these children 
had died and their deaths were duly notified, (iv) The 
birth of Wazir Ali was unnoticed in the proceedings of the 
time, but Middleton (Resident at lyucknow) mentioned on 
8 April 1782 that on 29 March 1782 he had been invited 
by Asafuddaula to attend the celebration of his son's birth 
anniversary. Thus Wazir Ali must have been born about 
4 April 1781. (v) He had been presented to Bristow by 
Asafuddaula as his son and heir, and had been brought up 
as such, (vi) In 1794 his marriage had been publicly 
celebrated and invitations had been issued to all, including 
the governor-general, (vii) In 1796 Wazir Ali had been 
appointed diwan and his younger brother Raza Ali, 
bakhshi. The former was presented to Shore in 1797 as 
the nawab's son and was treated as such by him. (viii) The 
'hadiya' said that if a person acknowledged a boy, 
whose parentage was unknown, as his son, and the boy, 
able to give an account of himself, accepted the parentage, 
the parentage is established, provided the age of the two 
persons be such as to allow the relationship of father and 
son. (ix) In addition to the above facts, the elder Begam 
had acknowledged Wazir Ali as Asafuddaula's son. (x) Then 
again, although his paternity had been attributed to 
several of Asafuddaula's menial servants, none had been 
able to identify the person, (xi) The belief that he was 
not the nawab's son was based on another assumption, 
that Asafuddaula was incapable of having children, an ex- 
tremely difficult thing to prove, (xii) Sa'adat Ali, while 
alleging that Wazir Ali was not the son of Asafuddaula, 
could not offer any evidence to prove his allegation, (xiii) Any 
inquiry into Wazir Ali's birth must go back 17 years, 
and it would have to be attended with very intimate 
investigations which no self-respecting family could permit, 
and a public inquiry of that kind might throw the whole 
country into confusion. 

For the reasons stated above Shore declared emphatically 


in favour of Wazir Ali, and the following instructions, 
amongst others, were issued to the Resident: 13 

(i) administration must be carried on in Wazir All's name; 
as he was unqualified for administrative work, the direction of 
it was to be with the minister; 

(ii) the Begam was to have no hand in the administration; 
she should be compelled to retire to Fyzabad; and 

(iii) the nawab was to be advised to be guided solely by 

Shore received various reports of oppositions to the 
existing government in Oudh, but he ascribed them to the 
unpopularity of the Anglophil minister and declared that 
"no part of this opposition is to be ascribed to the opinion 
entertained of Wazir Ali's spurious birth it would have 
been felt with equal force, whoever had been placed on the 
masnad." 14 Personally also Wazir Ali was unpopular, 
especially when he degraded himself by his undignified 
familiarity with his menial servants. But Shore thought 
that allowance should be made for his youth, his sudden 
elevation to the masnad, the bad example set by Asaf- 
uddaula, degraded courtiers and his neglected education. 
During his visit to lyucknow early in 1797 Shore had noticed 
Wazir Ali's " docility and apparent mildness of disposition. . 
that he was not deficient in understanding and that his 
general behaviour was decorous and suitable to his station/* 
But later he showed signs of "levity and insensibility, even 
viciousness," and not unnaturally Sa'adat Ali and the 
other sons of Shujauddaula were now making use of his 
unpopularity and that of his government and of the popular 
rumour about his birth. 

In order to render Oudh, and thereby the Company's 
possessions, more secure, Shore had already contemplated, 
following the instructions from the Court of Directors, an 
increase of the subsidiary force in Oudh and the repair of 
'and securing the control over the fort of Allahabad. He 
therefore decided to go to Lucknow personally, to get the 
above done and at the same time examine the succession 
question on the spot. He went quite convinced that he 

13 B.S.C. 23 Oct. 1797. 

14 B.S.C. 17 Nov. 1797 GG'a minute. 


was going to support Wazir Ali. He dismissed as inconclu- 
sive the statements received from Tahsin Ali Khan, the 
chief eunuch of Asafuddaula, that Wazir Ali was the son 
of a 'farrash', that the latter's wife had been introduced into 
Asafuddaula's zanana when carrying and that Wazir Ali 
was born in Tahsin's house, as proofs of Wazir Ali's 
parentage. 15 But while on his way to lyucknow, he received 
two letters from the Resident dated 29 November and 
i December, 16 which stated that Wazir Ali had grown 
suspicious of the English and was assembling troops in 
L/ucknow, and was perhaps planning to assassinate Taf azzul. 
Certain incidents were detailed to show Wazir Ali's inflamma- 
ble temper and the cruelty of his nature. A letter from 
Tafazzul, too, dated 27 November saying the same thing 
was received. These letters made Shore anxious and he 
decided to have in his attendance six companies of regulars. 
He was definite on one point, that Oudh could not be per- 
mitted to drift out of the Company's control, nor could the 
nawab be allowed to act c'ontrary to the advice of the 
Resident and the minister who enjoyed the Company's 
confidence. 17 

Shore reached Lucknow on 23 December. The next day 
Wazir Ali fell ill, and while he was confined to bed, the 
governor-general carried on his investigations (23 December 
1797 to 7 January 1798) and came to the following con- 
clusions : 18 

(i) that Wazir Ali was undoubtedly tho son of a farrash ; 
that he had no title to the masnad and was by character and 
conduct unworthy of it ; 

\ii) that to support him would not only be a disgrace to the 
Company, but would ultimately prove disastrous to Oudh and 
to English influence there; 

(iii) that both justice and the Company's political interests 
required the establishment of the rightful heir ; 

(iv) that none of the reputed sons of Asafuddaula having 
been born of him, the line of succession must revert to that of 

(v) that, therefore, Wazir Ali ought to be deposed and 
Sa'adat Ali placed on the masnad. 

The evidence on which Shore based the first of these 

15 B.8.C. 24 Nov. 1797 GG*8 minute. 

16 B.8,0. 11 Dec. 1797. 

17 Shore to Spoke 4 Dec. 

18 B.S.C. 30 Jan. 1798 Shore to Spoke 14 Jan. 


conclusions was no more conclusive than what he had had 
before. There were, however, two material points which he 
noticed while at Lucknow; firstly, that Wazir Ali's un- 
popularity was in fact much greater than he had supposed; 
and secondly, that the Begam's support of Wazir All was 
not absolute. The reports of the Persian translator's 
apparently casual conversations with various men of rank 
in Lucknow 19 all show that they resented Wazir Ali being 
their nawab. They and many others like them did not 
openly show their dislike because they believed that the 
Company backed Wazir Ali and because he was popular 
with the soldiers owing to his munificence towards them. 
The Begam had supported him perhaps because she, too, 
thought it unwise to oppose the Company or because she 
expected to have a hand in the administration, the nawab 
being so young. But her affections were not inalienable, 
and she now offered Shore an additional 20 lakh annually 
in subsidy if he would raise Mirza Jangli to the masnad. 20 

As to Wazir Ali's birth,, "the only positive informa- 
tion/' Shore admits, "was collected from Tahsin Ali 
Khan," which he had before rejected as being inconclusive. 
Tahsin's statement given on 31 December 21 and the result 
of his cross-examination on the 25th, 22 if true, only make 
for a strong presumption that Wazir Ali was not 
Asafuddaula's son, but proves nothing conclusively. On 
the other hand, Tahsin stated that Asafuddaula had two 
sons both of whom had died early, which, if true, rules 
out the foundation of the popular belief. As to Tahsin's 
veracity Shore says that "his character has never been 
impeached," a statement hardly correct considering the 
many complaints received against him of illegal exactions, 
evasions of legal dues and malversations while he was 
chief of the customs department, and the strong condem- 
nation of him by Johnstone (acting Resident) and Corn- 
wallis. 23 On other hand, the details given by Kamaluddin 

19 Nos. 22-25. 

20 Paper written by Shore 13 Jan. 

21 No. 17. 

22 No. 18. 

23 Chapter IV. 

I6 3 

Haidar 24 of Wazir All's misconducts ending in his seriously 
insulting Tahsin, and even threatening to kill him, could 
have given the latter every reason to do all in his power 
to effect the former's overthrow. 

Shore certainly had other reasons besides a revised 
view of Wazir Ali's claim to the masnad for deposing him 
and setting up Sa'adat Ali. He writes towards the end 
of his paper of 13 January 1798: 

We are so implicated in our connection with Oudh that we 
cannot withdraw from it, and we are so situated in it, that with- 
out a decisive influence in its administration we cannot have 
any security, the consequences of such a situation might be 
fatal if the government of the country were secretly hostile to 
us, and such in my judgment would have been the situation 
of the country under the administration of Wazir Ali. 

While Shore was on his way to Lucknow, Tafazzul met 
him at Jaunpur and confirmed the reports he had had 
about Wazir Ali's violence of temper and hostility towards 
the English. The minister said that "the conduct of 
Wazir Ali from his accession had exhibited a series of 
actions mean, profligate and vicious," that he had said 
that he would submit to no authority and that no one 
would dare annihilate 'his authority and dignity, that 
he would oppose all interference by the Company and 
had for that reason required all his commandants to take 
an oath of personal allegiance to him, and had directed 
himself to the degradation of the minister whom he 
considered as an agent of the English. 

Tafazzul was entirely trustworthy and the above 
informations from him set Shore thinking once again whe- 
ther his original decision had been wise. On his arrival 
at Lucknow he found the general opinion to be that Wazir 
Ali was 

fearless, debauched, of a sanguinary and uncontrollable disposi- 
tion. ..his conduct fully proved his inclination to maintain his 
independence at all risks; on this principle he was considered 
as the determined enemy of the English. 

Shore also found that the Begam was not persistent in her 
support of Wazir Ali. Considering that in these circums- 
tances it would not be safe to leave Oudh in his hands, 

24 op. cit. f. 30-31. 


Shore instructed Cherry, then Resident at Benares, *to 
sound Sa'adat Ali. 25 Sa'adat All, who had already made 
overtures to Shore, signed a paper of agreement 20 
promising the observation of all Asafuddaula's engagements 
besides additional and substantial advantages to the 
Company, viz. territorial cession in lieu of the subsidy, 
the cession of the fort of Allahabad, the cost of its 
repair and that of the fort at Fathgarh, the immediate 
payment of 15 lakh of rupees and more later if necessary 
by way of compensation for the Company's troubles and 
exepenses in raising him to the masnad. Everything was 
to be gained and nothing lost by the Company by subs- 
tituting Sa'adat for Wazir Ali, and the revolution took 
place on 21 January 1798. Shore had taken sufficient 
precautions against any risings, and perfect peace reigned 
in Lucknow. Policy had dictated the revolution and in 
the public eye it was also an act of justice. Whether it 
was really so or not there is no way of ascertaining. 

On 21 February 1798 a treaty was signed between the 
new nawab and the Company 27 based generally on the 
agreement signed at Benares. At Benares Sa'adat had 
agreed to (i) the cession of the Doab in lieu of the subsidy, 
(ii) the dismissal of the nawabi troops, (iii) the discharge 
of the just debts of Asafuddaula, and (iv) pay Rs. 15 
lakh to the Company for raising him to the masnad. 
In drawing up the treaty Shore relinquished the first, 
because it would have been a very unpopular step. He, 
therefore, deliberately substituted the vague terms about 
satisfactory security (Article n), aiming at territorial 
cession when convenient. 28 He also omitted the clause 
requiring the dismissal of the nawabi troops, as that might 
have given rise to rebellion and created a situation 
dangerous for a new ruler to start with. Instead he 
increased the subsidy to 76 lakh (Article 2), which he 
thought would compel Sa'adat to reduce his military 
establishment, thus indirectly securing the desired end. 29 

25 B.&.C. 20 Jan. 1798 Shore to Cherry 9 Jan. 

26 No. 28. 

27 Aitchison No. LIII. 

28 B.S.C. 5 Mar. 1798 Shore's minute. 

29 ibid. 


lie omitted the clause requiring Sa'adat's payment of 
Asafuddaula's just debts, as that would have been an 
interference in the private affairs of the nawab; and he 
considered that Rs. 12 lakh (Article 10) would more than 
cover the whole of the Company's expenses in establishing 
Sa'adat on the masnad. ao 

30 ibid. 




WHEN Sa'adat Ali ascended the masnad he was over 
50 years of age. He had been the favourite son 
of Shujauddaula and the favourite pupil of Tafaz- 
zul. Just before his death Shujauddaula had wanted to 
nominate him the acting nawab while Asafuddaula would 
have borne the title and the outward dignity of the nawabi, 1 
but Asafuddaula's mother would not have it. Kamal 
laments that thus a woman's interference in the affairs of 
the state became the cause of the ruin of Oudh. Sbujaud- 
daula, however, gave Sa'adat the suba of Bareilly, where 
Sa'adat retired after his father's death. Asafuddaula 
objected to his holding the suba, for the fear that he might 
gradually aim at the nawabi itself. The minister Mukhtar- 
uddaula warned Asafuddaula that Sa'adat was abler 
than him and more popular. Asafuddaula requested 
Major Polier, who had entered Shujauddaula's service on 
Hastings' recommendation, to induce Sa'adat to give up 
Bareilly and live in Lucknow like his other brothers, but 
Polier refused saying that he had no business to interfere in 
Shujauddaula's will. Asafuddaula thereupon offered to 
retire himself with a small jagir and leave Oudh to Sa'adat. 
Polier wrote of this to Hastings. It is said that Mukhtar- 
uddaula offered Benares, etc., to Hastings if the latter 
could effect Sa'adat's recall to lyucknow. Hastings wrote 
to Sa'adat, who seeing that the governor-general was on 
his brother's side, obeyed the summons and went to reside 
at Lucknow. He could not, however, bear Asafuddaula 
and his ways for long and arranged with the governor- 
general to retire to Benares. 

Before he left for Benares, he was involved in a plot 
against Asafuddaula. Muktaruddaula was unpopular with 
the people for the transfer of Benares and other districts 

1 Tawarikh-i-Atvadh 910. For the earlier career of Sa'adat see pp. 91-99; 
Jmad-us-Sa'adat 120, 130-2. 


to the British and With the army for his numerous dis- 
missals. In 1776 Basant Ali Khan, an adopted son of the 
minister, headed a plot against the life of both Mukhta- 
ruddaula and the puppet nawab, murdered the minister, 
but on approaching Asafuddaula, was shot by him. There 
followed confusion during which it was said that Sa'adat's 
servants had killed the minister and had aimed at the life 
of the nawab himself. Tafazzul advised Sa'adat to leave 
lyucknow, which he did staying at first with Umrao Gir in 
the Doab. He then crossed the Jamuna and took shelter 
with Najaf Khan. Through the efforts of Hastings and 
Tafazzul, however, reconciliation took place between him 
and Asafuddaula, and he retired to Benares. He lived 
there in a house he built at Durgakund on a pension from 
the nawab guaranteed by the Company. The pension at 
first was fixed at three lakh a year, but was reduced to 
two lakh in 1786, and to only one lakh in 1797. He was 
shrewd and intelligent, but was generally believed to be 
suspicious of others and fond of money. He succeeded to 
a chaotic state, pledged to heavy payments, and with its 
resources depleted. Soon after his accession Shore was 
succeeded by Wellesley, and there ensued between the new 
nawab and the new governor-general a long struggle which 
ended in the cession to the Company of practically half of 
Oudh. Wellesley differed from Shore almost as much as 
Sa'adat Ali differed from Asafuddaula. It should, however, 
be noted that Shore had anticipated practically the whole 
of Wellesley 's Oudh policy, but he lacked the vigour and 
confidence of support in I/ondon which enabled Wellesley 
to complete what Shore had only suggested. 

The Dean of Winchester remarks that the treaty with 
Sa'adat Ali, by which the latter was made to cede about 
half of Oudh to the Company, is said to be the most high- 
handed of all Wellesley's actions, a thing which Wellesley 
would hardly have denied but would have justified. 2 In 
an official narrative of the circumstances leading to that 
treaty Wellesley's actions have been justified on these 
grounds: the common benefit of Oudh and of the Company; 

2 Camb. Hist, of India V 354. 


the moral obligation of the Company to guard the interests 
of Oudh; political expediency; and the rights inherent in 
the Company by the existing treaties/ This narrative is 
obviously written as a case for the governor-general to be 
presented to the public, and a comparison with the actual 
correspondence between the men involved and the later 
history of Sa'adat Ali's rule show that the nawab has been 
misrepresented in the narrative. Wellesley was actuated 
in his policy by his belief that the political and financial 
security of the Company's possessions depended very much 
on the well-defended and orderly state of Oudh, and that 
only British rule could ensure those things. The whole 
transaction up to the conclusion of the treaty on 10 
November 1801 can be split into two, the governor-general's 
demand for the military reform of Oudh and his demand 
for territorial security for the regular payment of the 
subsidy. Both led to long discussions, the first ending in 
the posting of a large British force in Oudh, and the 
second, in the cession of the Doab, Gorakhpore, Azamgarh, 
etc., territories yielding a minimum of 135 lakh gross 
revenue, to the Company. 

The military changes were suggested to the nawab from 
Calcutta in June 1799. On the 2ist, Sir Alured Clarke, 
under the instructions of Mornington who was then in 
Madras, wrote to Sa'adat AH 4 pointing out the immediate 
need for military reforms, both for the sake of guarding 
against foreign invaders and the internal tranquility of 
Oudh. For the details of the plan of reform the nawab 
was referred to the Resident, Lt.-Col. William Scott, 5 who 
had in turn been referred to Mornington's letters of 
23 December 1798 rt and 25 January 1799 T to the late 
Resident, I/umsden, for his guidance. In those letters 
the governor-general had expressed his strong belief that 
the only possible way to ensure the security of Oudh was 

3 B.M. Addl. Mas. 13,524. 

4 B.M. Addl. Mss. 13,528 f. 3-6. 

5 Scott was originally appointed Lumsden'a assistant especially to 
advise on military reforms in Oudh. He succeeded Lumsden after his 

6 Martin, WeUesley: Despatches, Minutes and Correspondence I 386-9, 
1 B.8.C. 12 June 1800 No. 54. 

22 169 

the wholesale disbandment of the nawab's army and its 
replacement by the Company's troops to be paid by the 
nawab but under the control of the Calcutta government. 
In the official narrative mentioned above, the nawab is 
charged with having refused to put those measures into 
practice after having himself invited suggestions and 
having accepted them. It further states that whatever 
the nawab's views might have been, the existing circum- 
stances demanded those measures and that the treaty of 
1798 had given the Company the right to insist upon their 
adoption. The circumstances the governor-general referred 
to were the danger of an invasion of Oudh by Zaman Shah 
or some other power, and the inefficiency and utter unreli- 
ability of the nawab's own army whom he himself com- 
pletely distrusted. 

As to the danger of Zaman Shah's invasion of Oudh, 
Shore had to the time of his departure rejected its proba- 
bility. 8 Soon after Shore's departure, however, there arose 
another rumour of the Shah's intended invasion. Ghulam 
Muhammad Khan Rohilla, after his defeat in 1795, had 
found his way to Afghanistan, and it was rumoured at 
this time that he had succeeded in interesting the Shah in 
his claim to Rampur, and that he was proceeding to Ithat 
state to be followed by the Shah himself. 9 Towards the 
end of July 1798, Nasrulla Khan, regent at Rampur, 
informed Lumsden that news had reached him of Ghulam 
Muhammad's arrival at Nahaun, 10 and that he feared a 
partial, if not wholesale, rising of the Rohilla sardars of 
Rampur in Ghulam Muhammad's favour in case he actually 
reached Rampur. 11 Newsletters from the north-west 
reported that Zaman Shah's advance-guard was already on 
the move towards the Punjab frontier and that he intended 
this time to stay in Hindustan for eight years. 12 Morning- 
ton had come to India with a preconceived idea that the 
danger from the north-west was not so remote as Shore 

8 Chapter II (iv). 

9 B.P.C. 6 Aug. 1798 Nasrulla to Lumsden. 

10 200-250 miles from Oudh. 

11 Nasrulla to Lumsden reed. 27 July; B.P.C. 1 Oct. 1798 Nasrulla to 
Lumaden reed. August. 

12 B.P.C. 6 Aug. 1798. 


had made out, and that there was every possibility of a 
combination between Tipu and Zaman Shah. 1 * On receiving 
these reports, therefore, he hastened to instruct Maj.-Gen. 
Sir James Craig and Maj.-Gen. Stuart, officers commanding 
in Oudh, to keep themselves in readiness to meet Ghulam 
Muhammad, should the latter come near Rampur, and 
advised the nawab to place a part of his army at Najibabad 
and to see that all persons in Oudh and Rampur suspected 
of favouring Ghulam Muhammad were immediately appre- 
hended. 14 Although later newsletters from Nahaun stated 
that Ghulam Muhammad had not been even heard of 
there, 15 yet, in accordance with the governor-general's 
instructions, arrangements were made for the defence of 
Oudh. 16 The nawab suggested that his second son Muham- 
mad Ali Khan, "a young man of sound judgment and some 
parts/' 17 should personally proceed to the frontier. By the 
middle of October some more unconfirmed reports reached 
Lucknow that Ghulam Muhammad was fast approaching 
Rampur and as a result Prince Muhammad Ali Khan with 
the whole of the nawabi forces at Bareilly, accompanied by a 
detachment of British forces under lyt.-Col. Reyne, pro- 
ceeded to Bissaula where they were joined on 19 October 
by Stuart with the whole of the Cawnpore brigade, the 
combined army then proceeding towards Rampur. 18 They 
found perfect quiet there and saw no sign of Ghulam 
Muhammad. He was believed to have with him a band of 
3,000 unreliable Gujar adventurers and Bambu Khan, 
brother of Ghulam Qadir Khan. 19 

In November a man, also named Ghulam Muhammad 
Khan, who declared himself to be the agent of Zaman 
Shah, arrived at I^ucknow and delivered to the Resident a 
letter said to be from the Shah addressed to governor- 
general Clive (sic.), desiring the latter to help Ghulam 
Muhammad Rohilla to recover a half share of the jagir of 

13 Martin I 26-9 Mornington to Dundas 28 Feb. 1798. 

14 B.P.C. 6 Aug. 1798 Mornington to Lumsden. 

15 B.P.C. I Oct. 1798 Lumsden to Mornington 23 August. 

16 Hussain Ali Khan to NW. 

17 Lumsden to Mornington 16 Aug. Muhammad Ali was later King of 
Oudh (1837 -42). 

18 B.P.C. 12 Nov. 1798 Lumsden to Mornington 24 Oct. 

19 Lumsden to Stuart 2 Oct. 


Rampur. 80 This letter was accompanied by one from 
Ghulam Muhammad Rohilla saying that he had no hostile 
intentions towards the English, and requesting that if the 
governor-general found it impossible to allow him a share 
of Rampur, his family might be restored to him so that he 
might retire with them to Kabul and spend the rest of his 
life there. 31 Mornington had ordered Ghulam Muhammad's 
family to be transferred to Benares lest they should form 
a centre of intrigues, 22 and they had accordingly been 
taken charge of by Muhammad All and Stuart early in 
November 23 and were escorted to Benares which they 
reached early in December. 24 Ghulam Muhammad was at 
that time reported to be stopping by the Shah's order at 
Nahaun to await his arrival. 25 

In August 1798 Lumsden had written that Ghulam 
Muhammad's approach was not a thing to be feared unless 
he was actually followed by Zaman Shah. 26 This view was 
shared by Craig who ordinarily seems to have been 
overcautious. He had objected to Muhammad Ali's 
marching to Rohilkhand with a regiment of the Company's 
forces on the ground that it would be hazarding too much. 
At that time reports from Nahaun said that Ghulam 
Muhammad had not even been heard of in the neighbour- 
hood, that he was probably in Kashmir being detained 
by the faja there, and that Zaman Shah was still in 
Afghanistan preparing for the invasion. Craig said that 
the reputation of the British army had recently suffered 
considerably and that it must be recovered at the next 
encounter, otherwise the existence of the British in India 
would become precarious. 2 ' In September he said that 
four to five battalions of the Company's forces should 
be sufficient to crush Ghulam Muhammad and his Rohilla 
supporters, should they arrive at Rampur, and thought 
that the danger was not after all as grave as he had 

20 B.P.C. 24 Dec. 1798. 

21 ibid. 

22 B.P.C. 6 Aug. 1798 Mornington to Lumsden. 

23 B.P.C. 24 Dec. 1798 Stuart to Lumsden 7 Nov. 

24 Lumsden to GO 11 Dec. 

25 Newsletter from Najibabad reed. 5 Dec. 

26 B.P.C. I Oct. 1798 Lumsden to Mornington 16 Aug. 

27 Craig to Lumsden 24 Aug; same to same 28 Aug. Home Misc. 236. 


supposed, especially in view of the fact that Zaman Sh&h 
had shown no signs of approaching. 38 Craig's confidence 
lasted but few days; three days after writing the above 
he submitted to the governor-general a memoir on the 
probable invasion of Zaman Shah 29 in which he favours 
the popular rumour and recommends elaborate precautions. 
Six days later he wrote to the commander-in-chief 30 that 
he did not see a single reason why the Shah should not put 
his project into operation that season, and after another four 
days to the governor-general that "unless the Company's 
forces in the Upper Provinces were increased to 20,000 
besides the garrison at Allahabad, their number would be 
less in proportion to the magnitude of the work in front 
of them/' 31 There hardly seems to have been any justi- 
fication for this sudden panic. 

News had been received of Zaman Shah's advance-guard 
being on the move in July 1798. No regular news service 
was established until November when I/umsden's reporters 
reached the Shah's camp.* 2 Until that time the reports 
often conflicted in their details, e.g. in October two news- 
letters from Jaipur stated that the Shah had arrived at 
Peshawar, while letters from Patiala and Najibabad report- 
ed that differences having arisen between him and his wazir, 
Shah Muhammad Khan, he had been prevented from start- 
ing on the expedition and that his future plans- were un- 
certain. a:j A letter from Patiala to some Lucknow bankers 
gave 21 Rabi I (3 September 1798) as the specific date on 
which Zaman Shah had decided to start from Kabul, and 
that he had issued orders for a bridge of boats to be thrown 
across the Indus at Attock. 34 Several letters of Craig say 
that he had received the news of the Shah's having reach- 
ed Peshawar in September. 35 A man called Islam, who 
said he had come from Kabul, reached Lucknow on 8 Novem- 
ber and told a fruit merchant that Zaman Shah had crossed 

28 B.P.C. 8 Oct. 1798 Craig to Lumsden 23 Sep. 

29 Martin I 661-71. 

30 B.M. AM. Mas. 13,531 f. 19. 

31 ibid f. 23-4. 

32 Home Misc. 236 Lumsden to Mornington 3 Dec. 1798. 

33 B.P.C. 12 Nov. 1798 Lumsden to Mornington 24 Oct. 

34 B.P.C. 29 Oct. 1798. 

35 ibid. 


thfe Indus on 20 or 21 October; 36 a later report from Delhi 37 
somewhat corroborated Islam's report, but another from 
Patiala 38 made no mention of it, which, in I^umsden's opini- 
on, showed that the report was not true. 39 

The first news from I^umsden's reporters, dated 19 Jamadi 

I (30 October) and received at kucknow on 14 Novem- 
ber 40 state that the Shah had reached Peshawar on 20 Rabi 

II (i October) and that he stayed there till the 24th. This 
shows that both Islam and Craig's informants had been 
wrong. This report then says that the Shah was still finding 
it difficult to throw a bridge across the Indus owing to 
the swelling of the river, that his commandants seemed to 
be at variance with each other, and that he had sent 
orders to the raja of Kashmir and other hill chiefs to 
supply him with money. Six days later news came from 
Amritsar 41 that the Shah was four coss beyond the Indus, 
his troops encamped on the bank of the river and the 
bridge ready, that at Peshawar his troops had numbered 
1,32,000 although he had given it out as two lakh, and 
that the Sikhs were in great panic. In the middle of 
December news came from Zaman Shah's camp 42 that he 
had entered Rohtasgarh on Friday, 7 Jamadi II (16 Novem- 
ber) with about 1,33,000 followers, of whom only 40,000 
were actually fighting men, some light camel artillery and 
22 pieces of cannon. He had sent an expedition of 12,000 
men against Dunianagar, about 140 miles from Gujarat at 
the foot of the hills, where many Sikh families and bankers 
had taken refuge. He was next expected to advance to 
Gujarat. Newsletters from Amritsar and Lahore, dated 
10-19 November and received at I/ucknow on 3 December, 
stated that Ran jit Singh and other Sikh sardars with 2,000 
horse had given the Shah battle and had been repulsed. 
The Shah was managing well the country he had occupied, 
not permitting any loot or plunder, but the people were 

36 B.P.C. 23 Nov. 1798. 

37 B.P.C. 24 Dec. 1798. 

38 ibid. 

39 Lumsden to Momington 12 Nov. 

40 B.P.C. 24 Dec. 1798. 

41 ibid. 

42 ibid. 


still panic-stricken. The Sikhs, if united, could put 50 to 15o 
thousand men in the field, but jealousy and discord 
amongst them deprived them of their power of effective 
resistance. Col. Collins, British Resident with Sindhia, 
had received reliable information that the Afghan army 
had occupied Lahore on 20 November 43 and that Zaman 
Shah himself arrived there ten days later. 44 The Shah did 
not attempt any further advance; he stayed at Lahore till 
early January 1799 when he issued peremptory orders for 
the return march. 46 The actual scare seems to have subsided 
even before he had reached Lahore, for it had been found 
out that the number of his fighting men was only between 
30 and 40 thousand, the rest of his followers being vaga- 
bonds of whom he was himself afraid, 46 that he was short of 
money which he could not make up while in occupation of 
northern Punjab, and that a rift had taken place in his 
army, one section led by Wafadar Khan and the other by 
Sher Muhammad Khan, the latter secretly urging the Sikhs 
to hold out and harass the Afghan army by guerilla war- 
fare. 47 Zaman Shah had not been able to collect more than 
one lakh of rupees in his march of about 300 miles from 
Attock to Lahore. 48 Having arrived at Lahore, he stopped 
there trying to collect money by reconciling the local people 
by an unprecedented mildness and issuing orders to the 
Sikh chiefs and the hill chiefs in Kashmir to join him with 
men and tribute. This situation encouraged the Sikh sar- 
dars who, through the efforts of Bibi Sadda Koer, 49 con- 
centrated their forces at Amritsar, encouraging them by 
saying that anybody dying in that holy city was sure to go 
to heaven. 50 On 23 November an indecisive engagement 
lasting three hours took place between the Afghans and the 

43 Lumsden to Mornington 6 Dec. 1798. 

44 B.P.O. 11 Jan. 1799 newsletter d. 25 Jamadi II (5 Dec.) 

45 B.P.O. 25 Jan. 1799 newsletter from Lahore d. 24-27 Rajab (2-5 Jan. 

46 B.P.C. 24 Dec. 1798 newsletter from Amritsar d. 18 Jamadi II. 

47 News from Amritsar d. 18 Jamadi II. 

48 Newsletter from the Shah's camp d. 21 Jamadi II. 

49 Mother of Ranjit Singh, a woman of great personal courage. She used 
to lead the army in person, and when any sardar showed signs of 
unwillingness to advance, she shamed him into activity by asking him 
to change dresses with her. 

50 B.P.C. 24 Dec. 1798 news from Amritsar 12 Jamadi II. 

Sikhs in which each side lost between 200 and 500 men. 51 
By this time there were assembled at Amritsar about 
20,000 Sikh horse, besides foot and 21 pieces of cannon, 
under the command of Ranjit Singh and Sadda Koer. 02 
Besides this, three forts beyond Lahore with garrisons of 
500 each were still in the possession of the Sikhs, the Shah 
having left them alone not wishing to spend time or money 
over their siege. The raja of Jammu (Kashmir) seeing that 
the chances of the Shah's success were poor, willingly gave 
shelter to the Sikh refugees, though still pretending to be 
faithful to the Shah. The Sikhs successfully fell upon some 
Afghan reinforcements coming from Kabul, looted their 
stores and put some of the Shah's choicest cavalry to 
flight/ 3 The Shah obviously wavered as to his future plans, 
and that was promptly reported to the bankers in Lucknow 
where all panic seemed to subside. 54 Following another 
successful Sikh raid on the Afghan supplies, 55 the price of 
foodstuffs in Lahore began to rise. 56 The Sikhs now prepar- 
ing for a pitched battle sent a proposal to Lumsden for an 
offensive and defensive alliance. 57 Within a few days, how- 
ever, the news of the Shah's retreat was received, confirm- 
ed by Col. Collins, 58 the reasons given for it being his short- 
age of money and supplies, and the outbreak of trouble in 

The years 1799 and 1800 did not pass without the usual 
rumours of Afghan invasion, but much more feeble than 
before. In June 1799 the governor-general ordered the ex- 
pulsion from Oudh of all wakils, newswriters or other per- 
sons known to be emissaries of Zaman Shah/ 9 In June 
1801 came the news of Zaman Shah's defeat in the hands 

51 Newsletters from Amritsar and Lahore d. 18 Jamadi II. 

52 News from Amritsar 19-20 Jamadi II ; news from Patiala d. 24 Jamadi 


53 B.P.C. 11 Jan. 1799 newsletter d. 25 Jamadi II. 

54 B.P.C. 24 Dec. 1798 Lumsden to Mornington 15 Dec. 

55 B.P.C. 11 Jan. 1799 news from Najibabad 1 Bajab (10 Dec.) 

56 News from Lahore 2 Rajab. 

57 Bariar Singh to Lumsden 27 Dec. 

58 B.P.C. 28 Jan. 1799 Collins to Mornington 15 Jan. 

59 B.S.C. 3 June 1799 Barlow to Lumsden. 


of his brother Shah Mahmud* and finally of his imprison- 
ment/ 1 

From the above survey it appears that in 1798 there act* 
iially existed a real alarm of Zaman Shah's invasion, but it 
passed off before the year was over; that the chaaces of his 
success were very small, a fact realised in Hindustan by the 
end of 1798, after which, though the usual rumours arose, 
the people were no longer panic-stricken as before. As to 
Mornington's fear that there existed a concert between Tipu 
and Zaman Shah which might have engaged the Company 
on two fronts, there was little ground. The letters between 
the Mysore chief and the Shah, which had been seized during 
the time of Shore, had been found to be approaches made 
by Tipu and haughty answers from the Shah, neither 
encouraging nor specifically friendly. 62 After the fall of 
Serigapatam papers were said to have been found there 
which proved that there had been correspondence between 
Tipu and Zaman Shah, but the exact contents of that cor- 
respondence is not known. But whatever the degree of 
friendship between the two might have been, Tipu ceased 
for ever to be a menace after early May 1799. 

Towards the end of 1798 the governor-general had sent 
Mehdi Ali Khan as agent to Persia to effect a diversion for 
Zaman Shah in Afghanistan by encouraging his brother 
Shah Mahmud to rebel, 6 * in which mission he seems to have 
been successful. 61 At the end of 1799 the governor-general 
despatched another mission to Persia under John Malcolm 
with the object "to relieve India from the annual alarm of 
Zaman Shah's invasion, which is always attended with 
serious expense to the Company, by occasioning a diversion 
upon his [Zaman Shah's] Persian provinces; to counteract 
the possible attempts of those villanous but active demo- 
crats, the French/' 65 Malcolm left Bombay on 29 December 
1799, reached Teheran on 13 November 1800 and had his 

60 B.S.C. 9 Jul. 1801 paper of intelligence from Amritsar 28 Muharram 
(11 June) and 1 Safar (19 June). 

61 B.S.V. 23 July 1801 paper of intelligence 11-13 Safar. 

62 B.S.C. 1 July 1797 GG's minute. 

63 Martin I 432-3 Mornington to Duncan 13 Feb. 1799. 

64 Factory Records (Persia) 22 pp. 218ff Mehdi Ali Khan to Malcolm It 

Zilhija 1214. 
66 Kaye, Life of Malcolm I 89 Malcolm to Ross 10 Aug. 1799. 

first interview with the King on the i6th. 6rt Before he had 
left Bombay, news had reached there of the continuance of 
the civil war in Afghanistan which had broken out at the 
end of 1798. 6T He found on his arrival in Persia that those 
reports were true and that the King of Persia had already 
joined Shah Mahmud who was at that time fighting Zaman 
Shah in Khorasan/* Malcolm left Persia in February 1801, 
having in January concluded two treaties with the King, 
one commercial and the other political. 69 

. When, therefore, in June 1799 Mornington asked Sa'adat 
Ali for an immediate army reform, he probably had not 
the possibility of Zaman Shah's reappearance in mind. 70 
It is much more likely that he thought of probable enemies 
much nearer Oudh, namely Sindhia and Holkar. When 
Mornington first came to India, he certainly had the inten- 
tion of concluding an alliance with Sindhia, 71 but as he 
found that Daulat Rao continued to stay in Poona and 
that his position was uncertain, he became less eager for 
his alliance. 72 Also he could not feel sure of the co-opera- 
tion of Sindhia's army under the command of the 
Frenchman Perron. It is doubtful if at any time he had 
any form of treaty other than a subsidiary alliance in 
mind. He probably gradually despaired of concluding such 
an alliance with Sindhia, for Craig refers to a suggestion of 

66 Factory Records (Persia) 22. 

67 Home Misc. 470 Nathan Crow to Duncan 7 Dec. 1799 and enclosed 
report from the merchants of Herat. 

68 Home Misc. 470 Malcolm to Duncan 25 Feb. 1800 and enclos; Factory 

Records (Persia) 22 Malcolm to Wellesley, 14 May 1800; from Shiraz 
15 Mar. 1800; paper of intelligence from Yezd 26 Mar. 1800. 

69 Cambridge History of India V 486. 

70 Probably the impracticability of Zaman Shah's project had always 
been realized by Wellesley. In a private letter to Dundas on 28 Feb. 
1798 he wrote : "It is very difficult to form a conjecture with respect 
to the probability of Zaman Shah's being able to execute his romantic 
design. That he entertains such a design is unquestionable; and 
whatever may be the result, it is prudent to be on our guard, and in 
the meanwhile to derive every collateral advantage from his declara- 
tion." B.M. Addl. MBS. 13,455 fol. 50. These "collateral advant- 
ages" seem to have been at first to induce Sindhia to accept a 
subsidiary alliance, and later to induce the nawab of Oudh to main- 
tain a large British force in his country at his own expense. 

71 Mornington to Dundas 23 and 28 Feb. 1798; Mornington to Sindhia 

28 July 1798; Mornington to Collins 15 Sep. 1798 Martin I 12,28, 
684-6, 257-61. 

72 Martin I 311-3 Mornington to Collins. 


the governor-general of a defensive league with the Silchs 
and the Rajputs to which Sindhia need not necessarily be 
a party. 73 In March 1799 Mornington expressed his belief 
that Sindhia would actually be hostile though not known 
when. 74 By the time the war with Tipu took place, the 
governor-general had not succeeded in concluding an 
alliance either with the Peshwa or Sindhia. The latter, 
moreover, awakened suspicions in his mind by receiving 
agents of Tipu and not giving any satisfactory answer 
when a protest was made by the Resident at Poona. 75 
After the quick overthrow of Tipu there remained only the 
Mahrattas, especially Sindhia and Holkar, who could 
seriously challenge the British supremacy in India or 
intrigue with the French. Negotiations for alliance with 
them having failed, the governor-general probably foresaw 
a struggle between them and the British for supremacy. 
The military weakness of Oudh would have afforded the 
Mahrattas with an excellent target; the British could not 
afford to let Oudh be overrun by a hostile power, and 
Mornington considered that left to itself it certainly would 
be so overrun. The best solution to him appeared the 
complete transfer of Oudh to the Company, at least of the 
Doab, which would bring the British to the frontier of the 
Mahratta dominion, and the complete replacement of the 
nawabi army by the Company's troops. Compared with 
the situation in 1785, Daulat Rao was now much more 
powerful and less afraid of the English, and the nawabi 
army worse. 7 ' 1 

The low standard to which the nawabi army had been 
reduced by the time of Asafuddaula's death has already 
been described. Their pay had fallen into arrear and they 
were discontented. Not unnaturally, therefore, a number of 
them mutinied after the revolution of January 1798, 
perhaps more because the new nawab Sa'adat Ali was 
known to be parsimonious. The Resident reported a 

73 ibid 283 Craiq to Mornington 1 Oct. 1798. 

74 ibid 487-91 Mornington to Clarke. 

75 ibid 557 Mornington to Palmer 25 April 1799. 

76 Home Jfwe. 836 f. 569-606 Capt. Frith to James Law Nov. 1799. 


mbiaber of such mutinies during April-May 1798, n dis- 
content about money being at the root of every one of them, 
and they were all easily and peacefully settled as soon 
as the claims of the soldiers were equitably adjusted. 78 
These mutinies "neither proceeded from any dislike to the 
person and administration of the . . . nawab nor from the 
machinations of others to excite discontent amongst the 
troops/' 79 The Resident ascribed them to the defective 
military system, the sale of commands, etc., which had so 
long prevailed, "encouraged perhaps in some degree by 
[Sa'adat Ali's].. .elevation to the masnad," and he thought 
that had the mutinies been the result of a concerted plan 
of opposition, there would have been a general rising, and 
not small isolated ones as had actually happened while the 
majority of the army remained loyal to the sarkar. Sa'adat 
Ali had early set himself to the task of military reform, 
had abolished the sale of commands and saw to it that the 
soldiers were paid with the utmost regularity. 80 But it was 
only the beginning and, as lyumsden said, "where the 
system had been defective for a series of years, time must 
be required to correct its abuses/' Sa'adat still had in his 
service Almas, Mehdi Ali and Prince Muhammad Ali Khan, 
all of them undoubtedly competent men. Given sufficient 
time and opportunity, and with the assistance of the 
governor-general and the Resident, he could have, in all 
probability, effected the necessary reforms. But from the 
very beginning he laboured under many handicaps, and 
as to time he hardly got any breathing space. 

His first handicap was financial. He succeeded to an 
empty treasury and an almost bankrupt state, with reduced 
income and heavy outstanding liabilities. 81 He was further 
burdened with the expenses of the revolution, 82 the repairs 
of the forts of Allahabad and Fathgarh, the giving of 

77 B.P.C. 6 Aug. 1708 Lumsden to Clarke 13 April, 18 May. 

78 Lumsden to Clarke 14 and 18 April, 21 May. 

79 Lumsden to Clarke 18 May. 

80 B.P.C. I Oct. 1708 Lumsden to Mornington 16 Aug. 

81 His liabilities consisted of the arrears of the Company's subsidy, Asaf 's 
debts and the arrears of pay to the troops. 

82 He paid on this account Rs. 12 lakh in February and Rs. 6,000 in May 

1798, NW's account, B.P.C. 6 Aug. and 4 May 1798. 


rewards and khilats, and a cosiderably increased subsidy to 
the Company. He had to adopt every possible means of 
retrenchment and he started with himself. He told the 
ministers, in the presence of .the Resident, that he would 
not require a single rupee from the public treasury for his 
personal expenses, and to this voluntary promise he 
adhered strictly. 83 He had at that time only n lakh left 
in his private treasury 84 from which he had already paid 
out about 20 lakh to the Company besides maintaining 
himself and his family. 85 From the account drawn up by the 
Resident for 1205 F - ( I 797-8) it appears that although the 
revenue then was 13 lakh more than in 1783, and that the 
nawab had exercised every possible economy since his 
accession, yet there was a deficit of Rs. 62,33,127-12-11, 
but the Resident expected that in the way Sa'adat was 
going on, he should be able to 'balance the budget' in two 
or three years. 8 " Sa'adat was already known to be miserly, 
and his all round retrenchments which affected parti- 
cularly those who had enjoyed Asafuddaula's lavish 
patronage did not improve his reputation. He is said to 
have had a suspicious nature; it is not surprising that 
having been compelled to displease a large number of men, 
most of them with position and influence, he suspected 
intrigues and plots against himself. 

While he was struggling under these handicaps, there 
arose the panic of Zaman Shah's invasion and he, in con- 
sultation with Craig and lyumsden, made elaborate and ex- 
pensive preparations to meet the threat. lyumsden writes: 67 

The nawab -wazir continues to exert himself to the utmost to 
enable the army to act with energy if necessary, and it is but 
justice to acknowledge that I have found in his Excellency the 
readiest disposition to accede to every proposition suggested to 
him, having that for its object. He has instructed Almas. 
keep his whole force in readiness to perform any services that 
may be required. . .and is busy in preparing a considerable train 
of his own artillery to be employed as circumstances shall 

83 B.P.C. 6 Aug. 1798 Lumsden to Barlow 23 May, 

84 NW to Lumsden 23 May 1798. 

85 NW's account. 

86 Lumsden to Mornington 21 June 1798. 

87 B.P.C. 23 Nov. 1798 Lumsden to Mornington 12 Nov. For details of 
the military preparations see B.P.C. 24 Dec. 1798 Lumsden to 
Morniogton 6 Dec. ; Home Misc. 236 f. 99-120. 


* dictate. He has ordered large depots of grains to be laid as Anup- 
shahr, Mehdighat, Bissaula and Sandfee, and has consented 
that the fort of Anupshahr shall be garrisoned by the Company's 

All this time the governor-general was pressing the nawab 
to clear the arrears due to the Company. Although the 
Resident wrote that it could only be done by anticipating 
the next year's revenue, 88 and corroborated the nawab's 
statement that the latter had not received the arrears of 
rent from any of the amils and had only 7^ lakh left in 
his treasury, 89 yet the governor-general wrote that he was 
"persuaded his Excellency possesses ample means of dis- 
charging the whole arrear without waiting the receipt of 
the collection from the country/' and instructed the Resi- 
dent to urge the nawab in the strongest terms "immediate- 
ly to resort to whatever measure of any description he can 
command for the purpose of fulfilling his engagement." 80 
The nawab persisted in asserting that he had no other 
funds at his command than some gold muhars and obsolete 
'rakavi' rupees, which he had once before sent to the Resi- 
dent in payment of the subsidy, but which the latter had 
refused because they were not accepted in the bazar. 91 He 
offered them again either to be accepted at their nominal 
value or to be converted into or pledged in exchange for 
current rupees. Lumsden accepted the second alternative, 
but it was found impossible to have them converted before 
several months, and no banker agreed to advance money 
on those as security. The nawab then turned to Almas 
who after some hesitation agreed to lend the sum due to 
the Company to the end of the past preceding month, pro- 
vided that he was given an undertaking in writing that he 
would be granted exemption for that amount from his jama 
for the ensuing year. The nawab accepted his terms and 
the money was paid into the Resident's treasury. On 
Lumsden's suggestion the rakavi rupees were utilized in 
paying the huzuri troops (troops attending the. nawab's 
person), who had been clamouring for pay, to the end of 

88 B.P.C. 6 Aug. 1798 Lumsden to Mornington 21 June. 

89 Lumsden to Morington 30 June. 

90 Martin I 154 Mornington to Lumsden 6 Aug. 1798. 

91 Home Misc. 236 Lumsden to Mornington 13 Oct. 1798. 


June. Sa'adat also accepted Lumsden's proposal of appfo- 
priating the gold muhars in paying the pensions to the 
Emperor, the Princes and his own brothers, and the debts 
owing to the supply of grain for military purposes. He was 
not willing to part with the gold muhars, but he had to in 
order not to become more unpopular with those influential 
pensioners. By November, however, the subsidy 'fell into 
two months' arrear, and the governor-general wrote to the 
nawab asking him "not to wait for the supplies from the 
revenue but immediately borrow from whatever sources 
possible in order to liquidate the entire arrear/' 92 Sa'adat, 
it is not known from what sources, paid in cash between 
November and January a total sum of Rs. 34,70,066-9-2, 
leaving no balance. 9 " The regularity of payment lasted 
two months, then the nawab failed to pay anything 
for one month, and remained, until the treaty of 1801, 
throughout one month in arrear but not more. 94 Since 
January 1799 he had stopped paying Wazir Ali's allowance 
(Rs. 12,500 p.m.) as on the I4th of that month the 
latter had, after having caused the murder of Cherry and 
several other Englishmen, fled from Benares. This item, 
however, continued to be included in the accounts until 
18 November 1801, when the governor-general ordered 
it to be struck off the public accounts, after charging 
the nawab for the actual expenses incurred in seizing 
Wazir AH, and maintaining him and his family to 
date. The nawab was told that by Aiticle 5 of the treaty 
of 1798 he was bound to pay the whole stipend regularly 
and that this concession was being given him as a special 
favour! The future expenses of Wazir Ali and his family 
were to be borne by the sarkar. 9 * 

Faced with such financial difficulties, the nawab could 
hardly be expected to be able to carry on the reforms he 
had started, especially because the first step towards the 
military reform was the paying of the arrears of pay to the 
troops, which required ready money. There is no cjoubt 

92 B.P.C. 4 Jan. 1799 GG to NW 24 Nov. 1798. 

93 NW's accounts, B.P.C. Dec. 1798 to Feb. 1799. 

94 NW's accounts in B.P.C.B for the period. 

95 B.P.C. 18 Nov. 1801 Lumsden to Scott. 

thit the nawabi forces could not be relied on when Zaman 
Shah's invasion seemed imminent. Battalions in the out- 
lying districts supposed to be each 500 strong, when mus- 
tered were found to consist of no more than 300 men, 
many of whom were 70 to 80 years old and remained at 
home throughout the year. 96 Lumsden lamented their 
want of discipline and subordination, and observed that in 
the event of a war on the Oudh frontier, "the troops in the 
pay of his Excellency. . .will be found entirely useless. 1 ' 97 
The nawab himself put little faith on his army. 98 The 
rebellion of Wazir Ali afforded further proof of their un- 
reliability. After his flight, the Kandahar cavalry in the 
nawab 's service were despatched to apprehend him. They 
were a body of Afghan horse who had served in the first 
Mahratta war. An action took place between them and 
Wazir All's men, but the latter escaped. Maj.-Gen. Stuart 
later inspected the scene of the action and found conclusive 
proof of the Kandaharis having deliberately allowed Wazir 
Ali to escape. 9w L,t. Lumsden, brother of the Resident, who 
also was engaged in the pursuit, heard the Kandaharis 
speak openly in favour of the rebel. 100 Wazir Ali must 
have sent letters to many zamindars of Oudh and the 
commandants of the nawabi army were asked by the sarkar 
to submit all such correspondence ; but none except one 
complied with that order. This leads to a strong presump- 
tion that they could not be relied on. 101 Raja Rajendra 
Gir Gosain of Sheorajpur (about 10 or 12 miles below 
Cawnpore on the southern bank of the Ganges) who had in 
all about 300 armed followers, was suspected of aiding 
Wazir Ali. The Calcutta Government desired his apprehen- 
sion and Sa'adat Ali immediately issued orders for his 
seizure, adding, "he could not depend on his own people 
for carrying them into effect." 102 

When in June 1799 the specific military changes were 

96 B.P.C. I Oct. 1798 Hussain Ali Khan to NW. reed. 21 Aug. 

97 Lumsden to Mornington 16 and 23 Aug. 

98 Home Misc. 236 Lumsden to GG 31 Oct. and 30 Nov. 1798. 

99 Stuart to Lumsden 19 April 1799. 

100 Lumsden to Barlow 14 Feb. 1799. 

101 Lumsden to Barlow 12 Feb. 1799. 

102 Lumsden to Craig 25 June. 


proposed to Sa'adat, their necessity was urged on 'the 
grounds of the unreliability of his own army and the possi- 
bility of another Afghan invasion. Mornington had decided, 
while the latter danger had been more real, to increase the 
British forces in Oudh. On 27 October 1798 he had 
written to Craig that he had .no reason to doubt that the 
army in Oudh would very soon be increased to about 
20,000, probably more, lo;5 and by December he had raised 
17 new regiments of infantry with the purpose of transfer- 
ring some of them to Oudh. 104 After Zaman Shah's retreat 
he thought that a period of at least nine months, which 
must elapse before the Shah could reappear, should be 
utilized in effecting the proposed changes in Oudh. He 
expected that the late panic, the nawab's want of confidence 
in his own army, and the prospects of the economy result- 
ing from the new arrangement would induce Sa'adat to 
accept it without objection. 105 

In May 1799 lyumsden resigned 106 and was succeeded by 
I/t-Col. William Scott, who had been originally appointed 
assistant to the Resident especially to advise about 
military reforms. Scott arrived in Lucknow on 3 August 
and took over charge on the 5th. In his preliminary ins- 
tructions he had been made aware of the governor-general's 
desire of procuring the Doab for the Company and the 
complete replacement of the nawab's army by that of the 
Company. 107 These proposals were not acceptable to the 
nawab and he wrote a very humble letter 1 '' 8 in reply to the 
commander-in-chief's letter of 21 June r799, drawing atten- 
tion to his great exertions to clear the arrears and to pay 
punctually the regular subsidy and the extras demanded on 
account of the emergency defence measure. He referred to 
his letter of 18 August 1798 in which he had explained his 
difficulties (his financial embarrassment, lack of authority 
and the opposition of influential men to his measures of 
economy), and had asked for the governor-general's help to 

103 Martin I 315. 

104 ibid 387. Mornington to Lumsden 23 Dec. 1798. 

105 B.S.C. 12 June 1800 Mornington to Lumsden 25 Jan. 1790. 

106 B.P.C. 3 Jane 1799 Lumsden to Barlow 18 May. 

107 Martin II 54 Mornington to Scott 18 June 1799. 

108 B.S.C. 12 June 1800 No. 58. 

24 185 

solve them, but to which no particular answer had been 
given. He requested that now that the governor-general 
was free from the affair of Tipu, he should help him to effect 
the necessary financial, administrative and military reforms. 
The governor-general replied on 26 September 109 expressing 
his satisfaction at the nawab's "entire concurrence in the 
sentiments" contained in the commander-in-chief's letter. 
He emphasized the necessity and the timeliness of effecting 
the proposed changes. Scott was instructed to press on the 
nawab the proposals "with unremitted earnestness." 110 

Sa'adat Ali denied that he had agreed to the specific pro- 
posals made verbally through Scott though he had accepted 
the principles contained in Clarke's letter. 111 But Scott 
had written on 8 September 113 that he had presented to the 
nawab the governor-general's letter containing the proposed 
changes, and that "his Excellency perused the letter with 
apparent satisfaction and declared his thorough concurrence 
on the sentiments therein delivered." 113 This contradiction 
in the nawab's and the Resident's statements annoyed 
Mornington and he wrote a strong letter to the former on 
5 November. 114 In this letter, and the covering one to 
Scott, 115 are given his formal reasons for wanting to hasten 
the military reform of Oudh and his right to demand its 
adoption by the nawab. He says that Zaman Shah was a 
probable enemy, but besides him there were others; in 
any case, it was time to be prepared for defence. The 
nawab's own troops were useless in the event of an 
invasion. By the existing treaties the Company was bound 
to protect Oudh against any invaders. The state of the 
Company's finances did not permit it to maintain such a 
large army as would be necessary for the defence of Oudh. 
Therefore, the only way was to maintain these forces in Oudh 
at the nawab's expense. For that purpose the governor- 
general had one regiment of native cavalry and 2 \ regiments 

109 BM. AddLMsa. 13,526 f. 7-10. 

110 B.S.C. 12 June 1800 Mornington to Scott 26 Sep. 1799. 

111 NW to Mornington reed. 24 Oct. 1799. 

112 Home Misc. 236 f. 631-41. 

113 Scott however later said that the nawab had not definitely giyen hit 
consent, see infra. 

114 Martin II 132-5. 

115 ,&<?, 12 June 1800 No. 62. 


(numbering 5 ,000) of native infantry with the necessary etopi- 
pl$ment of guns, European artillery and lascars ready to 
take upttheir post in Oudh, and he proposed a further addition 
of three regiments of cavalry and 3^ regiments (numbering 
7,006) of infantry, and European artillery and lascars 
completing one battalion. The nawab could not obviously 
bear the expenses both of the increased British force and 
his own existing army, and the latter being useless, it was 
best to dismiss them and thus provide for the extra subsidy. 
As to the Company's right to demand the nawab's acquies- 
cence, he referred to Article 7 of the treaty of 1798. 
It ran : 

The English forces maintained in... Oudh for its defence, shall' 
never consists of less than ten thousand men. ..If at any time 
it should become necessary to augment the troops of the Company 
in Oudh beyond the number 13,000. . .the nawab. . .agrees to pay 
the actual difference occasioned by the excess. 

Mornington argued that although it was not mentioned 
in the treaty who was to determine the necessity of 
increasing the army, it followed that only the Company 
being bound by treaties to defend Oudh against all enemies 
could decide "the amount of force necessary to the effec- 
tual permanent defence of the Wazir's dominions, whether 
on a view of the immediate and obvious, or of remote and 
contingent danger/' He considered that the increase he 
was proposing was absolutely necessary and the time most 
propitious. His arguments were all right so far as they 
went. Oudh was in fact a dependency of the Company, 
and the governor-general could not sacrifice the Company's 
interests for the sake of the nawab. The nawab was 
obviously required either to acquiesce or repudiate the 
treaties. He, however, not unnaturally expected to have a 
voice in the direction of his affairs, and having been 
punctual in his payments and having done all that was 
possible to drag the affairs of the sarkar out of the quag- 
mire into which they had fallen during the previous quarter- 
century of disorder, he probably expected some indulgence. 
But Mornington did not think he could allow him either 
a share in deciding the policy or any indulgence. The 
nawab must have felt extremely disappointed, which 

probably made him express to Scott on 12 November his 
wish to abdicate, 116 proposing that if the governor-general 
should accept it, he would with his own hands raise one of 
his sons to the masnad and himself retire with what private 
money he had left. He did not object to the succession of 
his eldest son Ghaziuddin who was "quiet and of rather 
a heavy disposition," although he did not like him. On 
being told this, Scott withheld the governor-general's letter 
of 5 November. He inquired from the governor-general if 
he should try to secure the abdication for Sa'adat 's 
posterity as well. He conjectured that Sa'adat had pro- 
bably secured Asafuddaula's jewels and that he wished to 
ascribe his resolution to the pressure put upon him by 
Mornington to proceed against his will in the matter of 
the military reform. Two days later the nawab seemed 
still to retain the wish to abdicate, though not so strongly 
as on the I2th. 117 Scott asked him to decide quickly whe- 
ther he would abdicate or immediately proceed with the 
military changes. Scott, who on his arrival had found 
Sa'adat secretive and jealous of his authority in his own 
affairs, 118 had developed a dislike for him. He wrote now 
that the mere abdication of Sa'adat, even with the whole 
wealth of the state, would be a blessing to the country a 
statement hardly justified in view of the reports of 
Ivumsden mentioned before. 

After several conversations with the Resident, Sa'adat 
on the 2 ist forwarded to Calcutta a letter addressed to the 
governor-general drafted by Scott but corrected by his own 
hand. 119 In it he wrote that "the dissentions, enmity, dis- 
obedience and the negligence of the people here, and certain 
causes" had induced him to offer to abdicate. He expressed 
the hope that by the elevation of one of his sons to the masnad 
his line would remain, and promised not to stay in Oudh 
or interfere in the smallest degree in the affairs of the 
country. Scott asked him how he expected a young man 
to perform what he himself had failed to do, to which he 

116 Scott to Mornington 12 Nov. 1709. 

117 Soott to Mornington 14 Nov. 1799. 

118 Homelfwe. 236 Soott to Mornington 7 Sep. 1799. 

119 Martin II 152-3. 


t eplied with a dry smile that his successor would have fke 
benefit of that advice and assistance so often preferred to 
himself. 120 Scott suggeststhat having for long lived a carefree 
life Sa'adat had probably intended to abdicate at the very 
moment of his accession, and further observes that ever 
since his accession he had exercised his power only in one 
direction, namely, the accumulation of money, employing 
every means of making it and avoiding spending it. He 
expected that Sa'adat had accumulated treasures and cash 
worth a crore of rupees, consisting of Asafuddaula's jewels, 
nazars and the full monthly personal allowance drawn by 
Asafuddaula, which Sa'adat too had regularly drawn but 
never spent. In view of the previous Resident's reports 
none of these assertions seems correct. 
In the meantime, Mornington had re 
of the I2th. He did not quite approv^ 
tion, for it impeded his "grand obje 
tion by the Company of exclusive at; 
tary, over the dominion of Oudh,"^ 
formal question of succession. He 
between the nawab and the Compan^j 
date the complete government of Oud 
red to the latter. He wished to explc 
nesses of Sa'adat, his anxiety for persor 
love of money. The Resident was to impress upon him that 
the governor-general's plan would provide for the maximum 
security of his person, and that he would be permitted to 
take with him his treasures if he agreed to it, but not if he 
insisted on his son's accession. A draft treaty 122 was sent 
to the Resident with explanatory notes 12 * for his guidance. 
On receiving the nawab's letter of 22 November, Morning- 
ton recorded a minute on 16 December 121 stating that the 
nawab's offer had been entirely voluntary but was not 
acceptable to him in the form it was made. He pointed to 
the disadvantages of nominating Ghaziuddin for succession. 

120 Martin II 149 Scott to Morningtoii 22 Nov. 1799. 

121 B.M. Addl. Mas. 13,526 f. 42-6 Kirkpatrick to Scott 21 Nov. 1799. 

122 B.8.C. 12 June 1800 No. 66. 

123 Nos. 68 and 70. 

124 Martin II 159-67. 


Prince was young and inexperienced and thus the 
interests of the country would suffer, and that Sa'adat All 
would lose personally by being required to leave a large 
portion of his treasure behind, for he could not in fairness 
burden his son with his responsibilities while depriving him 
of the means of discharging them. Moreover, history afford- 
ed no instance of an abdicated prince having remained 
content in his retirement; hence Ghaziuddin would be in 
constant fear from his father, and in consequence, the per- 
son of Sa'adat would ever be in danger. From all these 
considerations it was evident that Sa'adat could not have 
peace of mind by abdicating in favour of his son. It had 
further been seen that the divided administration of Oudh 
had done the country more harm than good and Sa'adat 
should not desire to perpetuate that evil by nominating his 
son to succeed him. So that, in Sa'adat's own interest and 
in the interest of his country, the complete transfer of 
Oudh to the Company, said Mornington, was the best plan. 
Scott was instructed to present this minute and the draft 
treaty to the nawab if the latter did not accept his verbal 
representations. Mornington 'perhaps felt that Sa'adat's 
offer to abdicate had arisen out of the pressure put upon 
him for the payment of the arrears and effecting the mili- 
tary changes, for he desired Scott to write a letter to him 
(Mornington) making out more explicitly than he had done 
before that the nawab's offer had not arisen out of any 
measures the governor-general had adopted with regard to 
Oudh, adding that this letter should be "expressly designed 
for record/ 1125 Scott complied. 12 " 

By the time the draft treaty and the governor-general's 
minute reached L/uckuow, the nawab seemed to have given 
up entirely his intention of abdicating. Scott constantly 
tried to lead him to a discussion on that point, but he in- 
variably wriggled out of it. 127 Scott seems to have been at 
this time rather over-enthusiastic about the necessity of 
immediate increase of the British forces in Oudh and was 
greatly annoyed at the nawab's apparent intention to 

125 B.S.C. 12 June 1800 Kirkpatrick to Scott (Private) 17 Dec. 1799. 

126 Scott to QG 29 Dec. 1799. 

127 Scott to Mornington 29 Nov. 1799. 


demonstrate his ability to manage his civil and military 
affairs. He gauged the attitude of the amils in case the 
nawab's abdication did take place and concluded that 
the greater ones were not likely to oppose the Company. 
Probably they resented the greater vigilance of Sa'adat, 
which deprived them of the profits they used to make under 
the previous administration. Scott's eagerness to secure the 
abdication of Sa'adat is shown in his private letter to 
Kirkpatrick of 2 December. 128 He received on that day 
the draft treaty and the other papers, but did not imme- 
diately deliver them to the nawab in order to allow a decent 
interval after the despatch of Sa'adat's letter of 22 Novem- 
ber lest it should appear that he and the governor-general 
had threshed out the whole matter between themselves 
even before Sa'adat had communicated his intentions to 
Calcutta. He utilized the interval in consulting with Craig, 
drawing up a memoir as to the steps to be taken if Sa'adat 
abdicated unconditionally, 1%29 and posting troops at places 
where risings could possibly break out in consequence. 130 

On the morning of 15 December the draft treaty was 
presented to Sa'adat, which he kept without saying much. 1 ' 51 
Scott thought that he wished to retain the hereditary 
title of "Nawab of Oudh", but to this both he and the 
governor-general were opposed, because it might retard the 
full establishment of the Company's sovereignty in Oudh 
and prove to be a source of dangerous pretension later 
on of some ambitious descendant of Sa'adat. 132 After the 
conference in the morning was over, the nawab showed 
signs of great perturbation and was reported to be drinking 
heavily. On the morning of the igth he called on the Resi- 
dent and said that he had referred to "certain causes" in 
his letter and had expected that the governor-general would 
inquire what they were, instead of which the governor- 
general had sent the draft treaty. This, he said, had caus- 
ed him great disappointment, and that the terms of the 

128 No. 96. 

129 No. 97. 

130 Scott to Kirkpatrick 10 Dec.; Craig to Scott 9 Dec. 

131 Scott to Momington J6 Dec. 

132 Scott to Momington 16 Dec. 


draft treaty were such as were entirely repugnant to his 
feelings because they "departed so rudely in a most essen- 
tial point from the principle on which he wished to relin- 
quish the government and would, were he to accept it, bring 
upon him such indelible disgrace and odium that he could 
not voluntarily subscribe to it." la ' { He added that since 
Morning ton had rejected his terms on which only he was 
prepared to abdicate, he now withdrew his offer. He was 
probably glad to find an excuse to withdraw. Scott there- 
upon said that in that case he would immediately have to 
set about the military reform. Sa'adat at first protested 
saying that the proposed measures would annihilate his own 
authority the idea, Scott thought, he may have had in 
mind when he wrote about the ''certain causes.' 1 He re- 
mained unconvinced, with apparent reason, that the subs- 
titution of the Company's forces for his own would streng- 
then rather than annihilate his authority by "putting at 
his command a force that would be a check on the amils." 134 
He also feared that the British troops might interfere in the 
collections, though Scott did his best to assure him that 
they would not. Ultimately, however, he consented to 
what increase of the Company's forces the governor-general 
proposed and to the dismissal of such of his own battalions 
as could be spared. 

Although not instructed to do so, Scott presented a 
memorial to the nawab on the 23rd 1110 stating in strong and 
concise language the governor-general's disappointment at 
Sa'adat's rejection of the treaty. He then demanded his 
confidence and asked what those "certain causes" were. 136 
They turned out to be the disobedient conduct of amils such 
as Almas. There ensued then a long but inconclusive dis- 
cussion as to how far the Resident had been really diligent 
in suggesting ways and means of controlling the amils, and 
how far the nawab had followed his suggestions. On the 
whole it appeared that Sa'adat had definitely given up the 

133 Scott to Mornington 19 Dec. 

134 Scott to Mornington 22 Dec. 

135 No. 105. 

136 Scott to Mornington 25 Dec. 


idea of abdicating, so vScott ended the discussion by deli- 
vering to him Mornington's letter of 5 November. 

In the meantime Mornington had received the nawab's 
rejection of the treaty and the withdrawal of the offer to 
abdicate. He expressed great disgust at the "duplicity" of 
Sa'adat, 1 '* 7 a remark which perhaps arose more out of his 
disappointment, because, as the events above summarized 
show, the nawab cannot really be accused of any duplicity. 
Mornington gave up the hope of the transfer of Oudh 
to the Company and ordered the first instalment of the 
increased forces to march towards Oudh. He approved of 
Scott's memorial to Sa'adat of 23 December and required 
the nawab immediately to provide funds for the expense of 
the extra troops. 138 

Sa'adat was at this time reported to be drinking more 
than usual; his actions indicated an agitated state of 
mind and he seemed at times even unable to articulate 
properly. 1 iy Scott scarcely saw him until he called on 
4 January and said that he wished to make a proposal 
within two or three days. 14 * He had suggested that the 
Company's forces should be concentrated at one place, 
but Scott thought they should be dispersed all over the 
country, especially at Azamgarh, Manikpur, Gorakhpur, 
Bahraich, Khairabad and Bareilly, in view of possible 
disturbances following the disbandment of the nawabi 
forces. On the 6th morning the nawab was told that 
the extra troops were ready to enter Oudh. 141 He said 
that he had not yet formally given his consent to the 
increase, and requested that they should wait a few days 
until his proposals were submitted to Calcutta. Scott 
explained that according to the governor-general's inter- 
pretation of the treaty of 1798, his consent was not 
necessary, that the only point open to discussion was 
the means to be adopted for disbanding his own army. 
Mornington had ordered in. the strongest possible terms 

137 Kirkpatrick to Scott 27 Dec. 

138 B.M. Addl. Mas. 13,526 f. 51-3 Kirkpatrick to Scott 2 June 1800. 

139 B.S.C. 12 June L800 Scott to Kirkpatrick 3 Jan. 

140 Soott to Craig 4 Jan. 

141 Scott to Mornington 6 Jan 

that not a single day's delay in posting the extra troops 
in Oudh was to be made, whether the nawab liked it 
or not. 142 

On' the 8th the nawab sent to Scott a draft of his 
proposals, he himself going out of Lucknow for two 
days. This letter 143 states very concisely the nawab's 
case. He frankly admits his complete dependence on the 
British. He then states his objections to the replacement 
of his own army by British' troops. A good portion of 
his troops were faithful, he said, but were victims of a 
bad system; it would be unfair to deprive them of their 
subsistence owing to the misconduct of others. They 
would be certain to seek service elsewhere and spread 
the nawab's infamy. The few that would remain in the 
nawab's service would never feel secure thinking that 
their turn would come next; in such circumstances 
maintaining discipline would be impossible. Moreover, the 
spreading of the Company's troops all over Oudh would 
create an impression in the minds of all people that the 
English, who had tolerated a much worse state of affairs 
under Asafuddaula, did not trust Sa'adat and had therefore 
posted their troops all over the country. This feeling at home 
and abroad would completely annihilate his authority and his 
commands, however trifling, would be disobeyed with impu- 
nity. It was not possible to go through the lengthy formalities 
of calling on the Company's troops for every trivial matter, 
and thus the collections would probably be seriously disloc- 
ated. With the Company's co-operation he felt fully cap- 
able of reforming both his civil and military establishments 
and carrying out his fianancial obligations. He then points 
out that Asafuddaula had engaged to pay for the British 
troops maintained in Oudh a sum of Rs. 50 lakh a year, 
which had been increased early in 1797 to 56 lakh and by 
the treaty of 1798 to 76 lakh, without any corresponding 
increase in the sudsidiary force. These increases had 
been made in order to enable the Company to keep in 
readiness a larger army in view of the common danger to 

142 B.M. AMI. MM. 13,526 f. 50 Kirkpatrick to Soott 11 Jan. 1800, 
148 ,,, 12 June 1800 No. 120. 


themselves and Oudh from a possible invasion by Zaman 
Shah. This was the permanent increase to which he had 
agreed; Article 7 of the treaty of 1798 provided for tempo- 
rary increases in emergencies, which in his opinion had not 
arisen at the time of the negotiation. He then refers to 
Article 17 of that treaty which left the nawab "full autho- 
rity over his household affairs, hereditary dominions, his 
troops and his subjects/' He concludes with a request to the 
governor-general to abide by the terms of the treaty and to 
instruct the Resident to co-operate with him for a genuine 
reform of his army, to render them active, efficient and obe- 

While waiting for the nawab 's order to forward this 
letter to Calcutta, Scott on the gth presented Sa'adat with 
a memorial 144 in which he repeated that it was the Com- 
pany's government alone that could determine the necessity 
of increasing the forces, and that the dismissal of the 
nawabi forces had been suggested only as a measure of 
economy, which the nawab might accept or reject accord- 
ing to his will; that for the last five months he (Scott) had 
been trying to get a detailed statement of the nawabi 
forces for the sake of reforming them, but the nawab had 
not supplied him with it. By "reforming" Scott obviously 
meant "disbanding", for that was the instruction given him 
when he had taken up office. He added that the nawab's 
procrastination had led the governor-general to adopt the 
only alternative, who had for that purpose already raised 
extra troops and had decided that to listen to the nawab 's 
objections would not be conducive to the welfare of Oudh; 
hence the march of the extra troops had been ordered and 
could not now be stopped. 

On the nth morning Sa'adat called on Scott and told 
him that since the march of the troops had already been 
decided on there was no longer any occasion to consult 
him. As to their expenses, Scott informed him that the first 
instalment would cost him about i lakh per month, 145 

144 No. 118. 

145 One regiment of native cavalry (per month) Rs. 29,372-15-6 and five 
battalions of infantry (@ per month Rs. 24,326-9-3) Rs. 1,21,632-14-3 
total per month Rs. 1,51,005-13-9. 


but that the full complement would cost 58 lakh a yea*. 
Sa'adat said that it was against his principle to promise any- 
thing until he was sure he could keep it, so that he could 
not promise more than four lakh per month until his own 
troops were actually disbanded. He then struck out of his 
draft of proposals the usual heading and conclusion, and 
asked it to be forwarded to the governor-general. Morning- 
ton received it on the igth but refused to accept it in 
reply to his letter of 5 November and paper of 16 Decem- 
ber on the ground that it was not properly addressed, 140 and 
demanded a formal reply from the nawab stating clearly 
his reasons for not accepting the governor-general's pro- 
posals. Sa'adat readily apologised and wrote a proper 
letter. 147 In the meantime, on 12 January, he had written 
a letter to the Resident, very bitter and sarcastic, 148 in 
which he said that he had never approved of the proposed 
measures and it was useless asking him over and over 
again to say that he had; that he had ultimately acquiesced 
solely to please the governor-general, but that he still 
would like to propose certain conditions. They were: 

(i) Since the increase was to provide against Zaman Shah or 
someone else's invasion, the extra troops should be posted at 
places from where they could easily get to the frontier, and while 
not required on the frontier, they should remain at the head- 
quarters. If the amils required their help, they should apply 
through the nawab. They must not have any direct communica- 
tion with the British commandants nor should the latter give 
protection to any zamindar or amil. 

(ii) The British commandants should not interfere in the 
revenue settlement of the country. 

(iii) Scott should arrange for the spoedy dismissal of the nawabi 
forces, "letting it to be contrived so as to include provision for 
the payment of the sihbandies, as well as the present increase of 
the Company's forces; letting it provide for the old subsidy, for 
the troops of the huzur, and in conformity to Lord Mornington's 
letter, after satisfying the aforesaid demands, let there be a 

(iv) The increased subsidy and the payment of the arrears to the 
troops to be dismissed would render the nawab unable to pay the 
17 lakh demanded by the governor-general on account of the 
extraordinary military expenses on account of Zaman Shah's late 
proposed invasion and Wazir Ali's rebellion. 

(v) Persons banished from Ouclh should not be given coun- 
tenance by the Company. 

146 B.M. AMI. Mas. 13,526 f. 67-61 Secy, to Resident 19 Jan. 1800. 

147 B.8.C. 12 June 1800 NOB. 80 and 81. 

148 No. 122. 


(vi) "troops retained by the riawab for the purposes of state 
must be adequate to his rank. 

(vii) There was likely to be some irregularity in the collections 
due to the amils being deprived of the services of the mutayyana; 
hence the Company should put up with occasional delays in re- 
ceiving the subsidy. 

(viii) The governor -general and the Resident should help the 
nawab in effecting retrenchments, and quell any troubles arising 
out of them. 

It must be understood, he continued, that he consented 
only to please the governor-general, and that he should not 
be troubled with similar proposals again. He concludes by 
asking for specific answers to each point, and "not blending 
the whole together and answer them by asking for an 
increase of the troops or importuning [him] into compli- 
ance/' To this Scott replied 149 accepting that the nawab 
had never definitely consented to the proposed military 
changes, but objecting to his saying that he now consented 
only to please the governor-general. That suggested that he 
was not convinced of their necessity, whereas the governor- 
general had wanted to impress upon him their utter and 
immediate necessity. The nawab should either accept it or 
absolve the Company of their obligation to defend Oudh. 
He then gives his answers to the nawab 's points: 

(i) The nawab might provide for such of his dismissed soldiers 
as he thought deserving; the British forces should be spread over 
the country in order to preserve the internal tranquillity by "their 
presence but not interference"; complete guarantee would be 
given against the British officers interfering in local affairs. 

(ii) Answered in (i). 

(iii) Scott promised complete co-operation, provided that he 
was given every information and facility he asked for. This 
article embracea the general financial system, and he was prepar- 
ed to assist in founding a good one; mere retrenchment was not 
enough, the resources must also be improved. 

(iv) On this point Scott says only generally that no embarrass- 
ment would be caused to the nawab while heavy demands were 
being made upon his treasury in paying off the arrears of his 

(v) Should not give rise to any difficulty. 

(vi) Scott probably deliberately misunderstands this article 
and remarks, "they will not exceed what may be sufficient for that 

(vii) On this point Scott is very firm, saying that the Com- 
pany's troops were used to regular payment which was one of the 
means of ensuring their loyalty. Therefore the subsidy must be 
paid with absolute punctuality. 

149 No. 123. 


1 (viii) Scott repeats that proper retrenchments must be made, 
but that resources must also be developed; does not promise 
any specific help in effecting the unpopular retrenchments. 

As to troubling the nawab with fresh demands, he says 
that whatever had been done had been done solely for the 
benefit of Oudh itself, and that that consideration would 
guide the Company's policy in the future also. 

The nawab's revised letter and the report of the above 
correspondence between him and the Resident reached 
Mornington with several complaints from Scott as to how 
the nawab hindered the military arrangements by not 
issuing orders for the provision of grain, etc., for the extra 
troops, and by not giving him the detailed account of his 
own. 150 Scott was instructed 151 to give an ultimatum to 
the nawab that unless he complied with what he was asked 
to do within an hour of receiving the ultimatum, friendly 
relations between the Company and Oudh would be consi- 
dered to be at an end. Mornington also wrote a strong 
letter to Sa'adat 152 charging him with having contradicted 
himself and having generally followed a policy of obstruc- 
tion towards his benefactors. 

The nawab made a final unsuccessful effort to stay the 
execution of the governor-general's proposals by repeating 
to him what he had written to the Resident on 12 
January. 1 "" 3 Having failed, he ultimately accepted the in- 
evitable, though not very graciously, 1 " 1 and was reported 
to indulge in "more than ordinary excess of drinking." 165 
The military reforms went on, and on 18 March 1800 Scott 
was able to inform Mornington that the nawab adopted 
without delay every proposition made to him relative to 
the reduction of his own troops and paid up as soon 
as demanded the expenses of the additional subsidiary 
troops. 156 Scott went on steadily with the work of disband- 
ing the nawabi army; 107 the amils in charge of the 

150 Scott to Mornington 20, 28 and 31 Jan. 1800. 

151 B.M . Addl. Ms*. 13,526 f. 62-74 Secy, to Resident 9 Feb. 1800. 

152 Martin II 208-19. 

163 B.S.C. 12 June 1800 NW to Moniington reed. 19 Feb. 

154 Soott to Mornington 10 Feb.; to Kirkpatrick 12 and 18 Feb. 

155 Soott to Mornington 18 Feb. 1800. 

156 No. 138. 

157 Scott's letters to GG. Nos. 132-144. 

mutayyana were duly notified, the dues of the soldiers and 
officers scrupulously calculated and paid, and the corps 
were disbanded. By the end of November 1800 the total 
reduction amounted to 1,271 horsemen (out of a total of 
10,859) and 23 battalions of sepoys (out of a total of 33 
battalions), effecting an annual saving of 16,56,540 (out of 
a total of 61,41,138) rakavi rupees, which were less in value 
than the current rupees. Scott expected to be able to dis- 
miss very soon more infantry, cavalry and artillery cost- 
ing Rs. 14,20,477, thus bringing the annual saving 
to Rs. 3O,77,oi7. 158 As against that, the increase of the 
British troops by November amounted to three regiments 
of cavalry, seven battalions of infantry and part of a bat- 
talion of artillery, 159 the annual expenses of the first two 
alone being over 31 lakh. The additional troops were 
gradually introduced, and the total additional subsidy paid m 
by the nawab during February-December 1800 was Sicca 
Rs. 24,74,730-9-9. lfio But later on more money was de- 
manded and paid. 

Wellesley was evidently actuated in his policy by his 
belief that the security of the Company's interests depend- 
ed on a well-defended Oudh. He wished to see the British 
the paramount power in India, lril and to him the French 
appeared to be the most serious rivals. Having got rid of 
Tipu, possibly the most dangerous of the probable allies 
of the French, he next thought of the Mahrattas before 
whom Oudh, one of the best recruiting grounds for soldiers 
and possessed of great agricultural wealth, lay open. Nor 
could the Company dispense with the subsidy from Oudh 
which in the words of the governor-general formed a consi- 
derable part of its revenues. The Company was by treaties 
bound to defend Oudh, but the measures proposed by 
Wellesley were more than adequate for mere defence, in 

168 B.S.C. 29 Jan. 1801 Scott's report 5 Dec. 1800. 

159 Secy's, letter of 6 Nov. 1800. 

160 NW'saccts. in B.P.C. March 1800-March 1801. 

161 See his private letter to Fred. North, Governor of Ceylon, dated 20 
Jan. 1800: "The news of our Eastern triumph [over Tipu] reached 
England on 13 September. The sensation far exceeded my expectation 
. . . All is glorious in Europe, and if we live two or three years, we shall 
see Great Britain arbitress of the world." B.M. Addl. Mas. 13,473 f, 


fact enough for a decisive engagement with any power. In 
any case, Oudh could not be permitted to remain weak, and 
Wellesley thought that under Sa'adat Ali it was bound to 
remain so. He could not t afford to experiment, and there- 
fore offered to Sa'adat the two possible alternatives, either 
to accept his proposals or to absolve the Company of its 
obligations. He was probably certain in his mind that 
Sa'adat would not choose the second alternative; it is difficult 
to say what his decision would have been had the nawab 
chosen it. On the other hand, it appears from the correspon- 
dence summarized above, that Sa'adat was not guilty of 
double dealing or hostility towards the English, of which 
Wellesley accused him. He had made an honest start towards 
civil and, as Scott also admitted, 1 " 2 military reforms. The 
danger of Afghan invasion, represented to him as serious 
and imminent, appeared to him, as it actually was, less 
real. The difficulties he had predicted in effecting the 
proposed military change in Oudh were found to be true. 16:i 
Given every facility it took Scott well over a year to effect 
it, and its cost to the sarkar was considerable, while 
the subsidy shot up. In the face of many handicaps 
Sa'adat Ali had, in the first few months of his nawabi, 
done much, and probably would have done more but for 
the panic of Zaman Shah's invasion. In spite of all his 
difficulties he had punctually paid the Company's subsidy, 
a thing which had been unknown for a long time. That 
panic over, he had hoped for another chance and had ex- 
pected some indulgence from the governor-general, but in 
these he was disappointed. He can scarcely be blamed if 
in these circumstances he sometimes acted impulsively, 
sometimes vacillated, or took to drinking heavily. 

The tug-o'-war between Sa'adat Ali and Wellesley 
was not yet over. The governor-general's first choice 
would have been the complete transfer of Oudh to 
the Company ; his second choice was the possession of 
Rohilkhand and the Doab/ 64 which would serve two pur- 
poses. In the first place, it would make the subsidy secure, 

162 B.S.C. 12 June 1800 Scott to Mornington 10 Feb. 

163 Scott to Mornington 18 March, 19 April, 2 June. 

164 Martin I 387 Mornington to Lumsden 23 Dec. 1798. 


and in the second, it would give the Company a better 
frontier in view of their possible struggle with the Mahrattas, 
What was actually secured in 1800 was the third .best;. 
Soon, however, Sa'adat himself gave Wellesley the chance 
of renewing his efforts to obtain the complete control of 
Oudh, which ended in the treaty of 10 November 1801 by 
which Wellesley's second choice was secured. 

On 29 Jamadi the nawab wrote a letter to the Resident, 
in which he is said to have declared his probable failure to 
provide for the additional troops posted in Oudh during 
i8oo. 1 " 5 Sa'adat later explained 16 * 5 that what he had meant 
was that the governor-general had during the late negotia- 
tions repeatedly suggested that the savings from the 
dismissal of the nawabi forces would more than make up for 
the additional subsidy, but in fact while the subsidy in- 
creased, the dismissals failed to keep pace with it; therefore 
he had desired the Resident to find from the source 
suggested by the governor-general the means to pay for the 
additional troops. It is more than probable that Sa'adat's 
letter was meant to convey his feeling of angry disappoint- 
ment. It has been seen that it was to no easy task to 
which he had succeeded on his accession. In order to meet 
his obligations he had denied himself any share in the public 
revenues and had proceeded to cut down the salaries and 
pensions of many useless men of rank, e.g. Hasan Raza 
Khan, a thing which had been several times suggested to 
Asafuddaula. He had also stopped recruiting new soldiers 
or officers to posts falling vacant in the army 167 in order 
gradually to curtail his military establishment. These 
measures of retrenchment vitally affected many noblemen 
and commoners, who had seen better days under Asafuddaula, 
and With them Sa'adat became very unpopular. The only 
people he had sought to please were the Company's govern- 
ment, to whom he owed his accession, but the late transac- 
tion had shown that they had no special kindness for him. 
Six months after his accession he had been faced with a 

165 Martin II 422 Wellesley to Scott 22 Jan. 1801. I have not been able 

to trace the nawab 's letter referred to. 
106 Martin II 474-5, 
167 B.8.C. 12 June 1800 Scott to Mornington 10 Feb. 


deficit of Rs. 62,38,127-12-11 ; 168 during 1798 he paid the 
Company Rs. 77,8g,354-i2-3 m besides over 12 lakh imme- 
diately on his accession. In the course of 1799 and 1800 
he paid them Rs. 80,12,498-8 and Rs. 1,00,97,667-8*7, 
respectively, 170 for forces for which he saw no necessity. 
Added to these were the current expenses of the mutayyana 
in which Scott had succeeded by November 1800 in 
effecting a saving of only 15 lakh, which was very much 
reduced by the payment of the arrears of the dismissed 
troops. Then there were the salaries and pensions, many 
of which he had dared not reduce for fear of opposition, 
and the expenses of the remnants of Asafuddaula's various 
establishments, e.g. his menagerie, etc., which could be 
reduced only gradually. The gross revenue in 1797-98 had 
been Rs. 2,37,52,283-11 ; this amount could not have 
increased much as Zaman Shah's scare and the nawab's 
controversy with the governor-general which followed had 
not left Sa'adat much time to devote to the regular affairs 
of the state. He had had to borrow from Almas several 
times and the native creditors of Asafuddaula remained 
still unpaid. As has been said, Sa'adat was probably fond 
of money, but he certainly was also hard pressed for it 
during the first three years after his accession. In spite 
of all these difficulties he had paid the Company's subsidy 
with a punctuality unknown before. When he received no 
concession from the governor-general, nor always the due 
deference from the Residpt, 171 it is not surprising that he 
was left in a bitter mood and wrote to the Resident with 
a feeling of injured triumph that after all the governor- 
general had been wrong and what he himself had predicted 
had come true. 

Whatever Sa'adat may have written, the Resident 
and the governor-general interpreted it as his declaration 

168 B.P.C. 6 Aug. 1798 NW* account for 1797-8. 

169 B.P.C. Apr. 1798-Jan. 1799 NW's accounts. 

170 B.P.C. Feb. 1799-Jan. 1801 NW's accounts. 

171 The following incident is related by Kamaluddin. During the negotia- 

tion of the treaty of 1801, Sa'adat sent his agent, Maulavi Sadan to 
Scott to discuss certain matters. Scott became impatient, took the 
bayonet off his rifle, placed it before the Maulavi and asked him to get 
an answer from Sa'adat to that. Sadan quietly replied that it had been 
answered in 1764 on the field of Buxar. Tawarikh-i-4wadh 157, 


of the probability of his failure to pay the 
subsidy. Wellesley immediately decided to try once 
to secure Sa'adat's abdication in favour of the Company, 
or failing that to secure Rohilkhand and the Doab, prefer- 
ably with Azamgarh and Gorakhpur thrown in. Accord- 
ingly he wrote to Scott 172 instructing him to present 
the nawab with these alternatives. He also wrote to 
Sa'adat direct 173 that the t probability of his failure had 
arisen entirely out of his own negligence, and that only 
British rule could make Oudh solvent again ; that, there-, 
fore, he should, for the sake of his own peace of mind 
and for the welfare of his country, transfer Oudh to the 
Company. If this was not acceptable to him, he must, 
immediately cede sufficient territory to ensure the 
realisation of the total subsidy from their revenue after 
deducting the charges of collection and administration. 
With the letter to the Resident was enclosed a draft 
treaty for the cession of Oudh. 174 Then followed another 
long discussion 175 in which Wellesley tried to make his 
first alternative as attractive and the second as repulsive 
to Sa'adat as possible. In the case of the nawab's accept- 
ing the second alternative, he was required to pay up 
immediately all arrears. The arrears at that time amounted 
to one month's subsidy (about 10 lakh) and the extra- 
ordinary military expenses in connection with Zaman 
Shah's invasion and Wazir All's rebellion. The latter 
amount had originally been stated as just over 17 lakh, 
but was at this time increased to Rs. 38,13,590 on the 
ground that although most of the extra troops had in 
October 1799 marched back into the Company's territories 
yet some of them continued to stay in Oudh, and the rest 
had been ever since maintained for the sake of Oudh, 
therefore their expenses from November 1799 to 31 March 

172 22 Jan. 1801 Martin II 422-9. 

173 Martin II 429*36. 

174 B.S.C. 24 June 1802. No. 4. 

175 The correspondence relating to this part of the transaction are entered 

in the Proceedings of the Bengal Govt. in the Secret Deptt. of 24 
June 1802, under the introduction that it was a negotiation "for the 
conclusion of a treaty ... on principles calculated for the security of 
the British interests in Oudh." 


iSbi amounting to Rs. 11,09,369 should "be borne by the 
Qttdh sarkar. 176 The nawab was further required to pay 
a" share of the expenses of the two missions to Persia as: 
their purpose had been to divert Zaman Shah from 
invading Oudh. In case he elected to abdicate, he was 
promised concessions on all these items, as well as per- 
mission to carry away what treasure he had accumulated. 

Sa'adat gave an unqualified refusal to the first proposal. 
The second he tried to avert by representing over and over 
again that he had paid the subsidy regularly, and, though 
disputing the justness of the 38 lakh arrears and the part 
cost of the Persian missions, he offered to pledge his private 
means to pay them also. But Wellesley argued that 
Sa'adat had declared his probable failure to pay the subsidy, 
and that the Company could not take the risk of waiting 
till he actually failed to demand the territorial security to 
which they were entitled by Article II of the treaty of 1798. 
He refused to accept any other security than the districts 
he had named. Ultimately the nawab declared that he 
had neither the inclination nor the power to resist 
.Wellesley's demands, but he could never voluntarily consent 
to these proposals; that all his land and money were at 
the governor-general's disposal, who could take them if he 
liked, he himself could only passively obey. 177 

In July 1801 the governor-general appointed his bro- 
ther Henry Wellesley to reinforce Scott, expecting that 
the new agent's close relationship with himself would im- 
press the nawab more. On 15 July the nawab gave his con- 
sent to the territorial cession, but on certain conditions. 178 
Henry Wellesley arrived at I v ucknow early in September 
and opened negotiations with the nawab on the 6th. He 
tried once again to induce Sa'adat to abdicate, either in 
favour of the Company or of his eldest son, but the nawab 
absolutely refused. Sa'adat put forward his case once more 
to Henry Wellesley, 179 but was met with a firm refusal 
from the latter to accept anything less than the immediate 

176 B.8.C. 30 Apr. 1801 Scott to NW 13 April. 

177 B.8.C. 24 June 1802 Scott to Wellesley 8 June 1801. 

178 Scott to GG July 1801. 

179 KW to H. Wellesley 15 Sep. 1801. 


territorial cession proposed. On 19 September Sa'adat deli-; 
vered his'formal acceptance. 180 It took some time to adjust 
the total demands of the Company and the revenue of the 
districts to be ceded, and on 10 November the final treaty 
was despatched to the governor-general for ratification. 

By this treaty 181 Sa'adat ceded to the company in 
perpetual sovereignty territories yielding at that time a 
gross revenue of Rs. 1,35,23,474-8-3, in commutation of 
the subsidy, expenses of the additional troops and the 
Royal and the Ferrukhabad pensions. The nawab en- 
gaged to dismiss all his troops in his pay, except four batta- 
lions of infantry, one battalion of najibs, 2,000 horse- 
men and golundazes not exceeding 300, besides such armed 
peons as might be deemed necessary for the purposes of 
collections, and a few horsemen and najibs to attend the 
persons of the amils. He also engaged to establish good 
government in his reserved dominions, and to consult with 
the Company's government for that purpose. The terms of 
the treaty were to come into force with retrospective effect 
from the first day of 1209 F. (22 September 1801). 

Both Wellesley and Sa'adat Ali have been severely 
criticised for their respective actions. If Wellesley could 
have publicly proclaimed at the very beginning what he 
privately believed, and what in fact was the case, that 
Oudh had long ago ceased to be an independent state and 
was only a province of the Company's empire in India, the 
nawab being no more than a governor with some special 
privileges, this long controversy might have been avoided. 
His view is well expressed in his Secretary's letter of 10 
September 1801 to Henry Wellesley and Scott: 182 

The right of the Company to secure the British interests in the 
province of Oudh must be considered as the fundamental 
principle of every arrangement. It is the bond of connection 
between the dominions of the Company and those of his Excel- 
lency, and exists independently of his Excellency's will. The 
inference to be drawn from this undeniable position is, that the 
British government would be justified in pursuing the measures 
necessary for the security of those interests, not only without his 
Excellency's consent, but even in opposition to his endeavours 
to counteract them. 

180 H. Wellesley and Scott to QG 25 Sep. 1801. 

181 Aitchison LV. 

182 B.M. Addl. M$s. 13,526 f. 81-89. 


it 'goes on to say that in case the nawab refused to a* 
capt the Company's proposals, the only course left was either 
to cut off all connections with him or to coerce him into 
accepting those proposals. But situated as the Company 
was, it could not in its own interest sever connections 
with Oudh. Therefore the only alternative left to the Com- 
pany was to maintain that connection in such a way as 
would "render it an effectual barrier against the enemy/ 1 

But Wellesley could not entirely disregard public 
opinion, particularly in England, and he had to take for 
granted the theoretical status of the nawab and the terms 
of the existing treaties. He had, therefore, to faU back 
upon the pressing necessity for Oudh, the moral obligation 
of the Company, the political expediency for both, and the 
rights vested in the Company by the spirit if not the letter 
of the existing treaties as justifications for his policy. He 
failed to convince Sa'adat Ali, a shrewd man scarcely 
willing to make great sacrifices for his ally by whom he 
with justice thought that he had been shabbily treated. 
The nawab desperately clung to his theoretical rights and the 
letter of the treaties and tried his utmost to save what he 
could for himself. His subsequent rule of 13 years over his 
reserved dominions justifies his claim that given a fair 
chance he could have improved the government of his 
country. Mir Ghulam Ali and Kamaluddin 183 pay high 
tribute to his hard work, impartial justice and the main- 
tenance of law and order. His rule has been criticised as 
having been oppressive, and in evidence of that it is said 
that in spite of his diminished income he was known to 
have left about 14 crores of rupees when he died. But this 
may have been due to economy rather than oppression, for 
the revenues of his reserved dominions never exceeded 
Rs. 115 lakh, 184 about as much as the same areas had 
produced at the time of his accession. On the other hand, 
his military expenses had been reduced to insignificance and 
though he established three courts of justice at I/ucknow 185 
the expenses of general administration did not increase 

183 Tawarikh-i-Awadh I 185-7. 

184 ibid 181-2. 

186 Imadw-Sa'adat 173. 


muck, he having concentrated all work in his own lianas. 
Kamaluddin says that he let the land as far as possible 
under the amani system (i.e. land held by the amil on be* 
half of the sarkar) though some districts were given on 
ijara (contract). Elliot says 186 that the ijara system became 
more prevalent under Sa'adat than before, but the amils 
could not oppress the ryot under his vigilant eyes. Kamal- 
uddin describes 187 his routine of daily conference with his 
agents from the provinces, and meetings twice a week with 
the Resident, occasional personal inspection of the ganj and 
the rates of market prices. He did not allow much autho- 
rity to his officers and the common people had easy access 
to him. No amil was given districts worth more than four 
or five lakh of rupees lest they should grow too powerful 
and independent. At the time of settlement the amils were 
required to execute a bond to keep the country in a good 
state of cultivation and the revenues undiminished. If after 
a period it was found that without sufficient c&use the 
country had deteriorated the amil was put in prison. The 
amils used to be attended by some najibs and sihbandy, 
but had no power of appointment or dismissal. They could 
not employ them against anyone without first explaining 
the case to the nawab and getting his permission. Sa'adat 
had a large number of agents or spies who constantly 
reported to him the happenings in the porviuces. This seems 
to have been the principle system of inspection. 

The system was defective and it is more than probable 
that it did not always work satisfactorily. The amils, 
compelled to pay up the jama fully and regularly, must 
have tried to make good by screwing the ryot whenever 
they got a chance. But it seems that while Sa'adat All 
was alive, they did not get many chances. Undoubtedly 
the old abuses cropped up again in the nawabi of his son 
and successor Ghaziuddin Haidar (1814-27) who was half- 
witted and whom perhaps Sa'adat wished to disinherit in 
favour of his second son, Muhammad Ali, who was a man 
of capacity. Muhammad Ali, during his nawabi (1837-42) 

186 Chronicle* of Oonao 127. 

187 Tawarikh-i-Awadh I 183-7. 


revived the state somewhat, only to let it relapse to its 
former condition under his son Amjad Ali Shah. The mal- 
government of Oudh after Sa'adat arose more out of the 
inherent defects of a system of hereditary despotism, 
rather than from the personal defects of Sa'adat Ali himself. 



The sarkar's accounts for 1204 F. rendered by Tafazxtd Uu$- 
sain Khan: 

Rs. as. p. 

1. Mutayyana and their contingent charges 
for which deductions were granted to 

the amils . . . . . . 63,25,028 2 3 

2. The nawab's private expenses 71,41,732 8 

3. Pensions and wages . . 39,97,600 15 6 

4. Company's subsidy . . 50,79,175 1 7 

5. Miscellaneous, details not given 11,39,359 

Total for the current year . . 2,36,82,895 10 4 
The balance of the arrears outstanding for 

1203 F, was .. .. .. 36,60,8721410 

Total charge upon the revenue for 1204F. 

amounted to .. ., .. 2,73,43,767 14 2 

Deduct amount gained in certain conversions 

in currency .. .. .. 3,76,990 5 6 

Net charge upon the revenue for 1204 F. .. 2,69,66,777 8 8 


The following sums were paid to the nawab and are not 
accounted for : 

Rs. as. p. 

Regular instalments paid to the nawab at 
the rate of 1J lakh per month . 18,00,000 

Paid through Tahsin Ali Khan 
Bhawani Mahra 
to the nawab, rent of a village under 


to the nawab a/c purchase of fruit, etc 
,, purchase of carriages. 
,, ,, purchase sundries . 






2,06,089 7 3 


Total paid to the nawab . . . . 26,43,150 7 3 

The following sums were paid by the nawaVs order from the 
public treasury : 

(a) Khasa and Doab, or the expenses of the 

animals in the nawab's menagerie .. 28,09,652 12 9 

(b) Toshakhana or wardrobe 3,00,000 

(c) Ice houses . . 12,000 

(d) Korekhana or armoury 13,887 

(e) Tazia-khana 6,376 15 9 
(f ) Quran-khwan or expenses at the tombs 

of the nawab's father, grandmother, etc. 25,921 

(g) H.E.'s gardens . . .. .. 1,12,337 6 9 

Carried over . . . . 32,80,175 3 3 



*i Hs. as. p. 

Brought forward . . 32,80,175 8 3 

(h) Kheddah or catching elephants . . 24,000 
(i) His Excellency's rumnah (park) at. 

Baiswara . . . . . . 1,200 

(i) Sbtgird pesha or H.E.'s household ser- 
vant . . . . . . 4,30,432 10 

(k) Palki, howdah, etc. .. .. 24,402 14 6 

(1) Dak charges 79,576 7 

(m) Zururiat, including hire of coolies, etc. 4,39,196 13 
(n) Constructing bridge of boats over the 

Qogra . . . . 2,000 

Repairs in the fort of Allahabad 80,000 

A/O females in the zenana . . 1,37,508 

TOTAL .. 44,98,581 16 9 

About 45 lakh over and above the 26^ lakh (approx.) 
paid directly to the nawab. All these items generally, and 
items (a), (g), (j), (k) and (m) particularly seem to be 
extremely wasteful, especially when the budget showed a 
deficit of nearly 32 lakh. 


List of allowances from the Nawab of Oudh to the servants of 
the Company, civil and military, employed in his dominions, 
from the Proceedings in the Secret Inspection Department, 3 May 


Rs. as. p. 

1. Maj. Palmer, agent to the governor- 
general at the durbar upon an average 

per month . . . . . . 19,900 

2. Mr. Wheler, asstt. to the paymaster and 

accountant . . . . . . 5,000 

3. Commanding officers at Cawnpore and 

Fathgarh in lieu of bazar-customs . . 16,666 

4. Lt.-CoL Martine, keeper of the arsenal . . 3,730 

5. Mr. Blaine, surgeon to the nawab and to 

the civil establishment . . . . 5,000 

6. Mr. Bruce, surgeon to the military 
establishment . . . . . . 2,000 

7. Mr. Scawen, auditor-general . . 2,000 

8. Mr. Gall, asstt. to above . . . . 1,000 

9. Maj. Browne, on deputation to the * 

Emperor . . . . . . 3,000 

10. Mr. Bird, secretary to above .. 1,000 

11. Lt. Anderson, on deputation to Sindhia 3,000 

12. Commanding officer of regiment at 

Lucknow . . . . . . - 2,000 

13. Capt. Frith, commanding 4 battalions of 

sepoys, in lieu of all charges, etc. . . 5,000 

14. Mr. Gregory, asstt. in the civil establish- 
ment . . . . . . 2,000 

Carried over . . , , 71,296 


B*. ftg. p. 

Brought forward . . 71,296 

15. Messrs. Grant and Johns tone, assistants, 

each Rs. 2,000 . . . . 4,000 

16. Mr. Taylor, dak-master, salary and dak 

expenses . . . . .*. 2,000 

17. Mr. Orr, employed by Mr. Wombwell . . 2,000 

18. Capt. John Mordaunt . . . . 8,000 

19. Mr. Willes, resident at Farrukhabad, on 

an average . . . . . . 5,250 

20. Mr. Wombwell, paymaster and account- 
ant received 1J% commission on the 
total receipts. 

TOTAL .. 92,546 


Posts retained and the new scale of salaries allowed to the 
Company's servants in Oudh, by the resolution of 3 May 1785 : 


1. The Resident . . . . 2,988 per month. 

2. Mr. Wheler, asstt. to above and 

accountant . . . . . . 512 ,, ,, 

3. Lt.-Col. Martine, pay and double full 

batta . . . . . . 1,488 

4. Mr. Elaine, surgeon . . . . 684 ,, 

5. Mr. Bruce . . 684 

6. The commanding officer of the regiment 

at Lucknow . . . . . . 1,536 ,, 

7. Mr. Taylor, as before . . . . 2,000 

TOTAL .. 9,892 

For further reductions in 1786-7 see Appendix I. 

The sarkar engaged to pay the Company during 1193 F. 

1785-6) : 

Rs. as. p, 
Current : 

(a) Cawnpore brigade for 12 months . . 31,20,000 

(b) Regiment at Lucknow 3,00,000 

(cj Fathgarh brigade ,, .. 17,40,000 

(d) Sa'adat Ali's stipend ,, .. 2,00,000 

(e) Rohilla stipend .. 61,578 
Arrears : 

(f) Fathgarh brigade 1 Jan.-31 Aug. 1785 . . 1 1,60,000 
'~ x Eraser's bonds and interest . . 1,70,000 

To Majs. Lumsdaine and Gilpin, Capts. 

Dennis andMacleod, Lt. Shipton, etc. . . 1,29,456 
(i) Interest due to the shroffs . . 4,00,000 

(j) Abdul Rahman Khan for the Kandahar 

cavalry . . . . . . 76,000 

(k) Batta to a shroff on the balance due to 

him .. .. .. 71,910 

TOTAL .. 74,28,944 



Items (g), (i) and (k) need explanation. As to the 
first, James Fraser, a private trader, had applied to the 
Calcutta government in December 1780, to procure the 
payment of a debt due to him from the sarkar which had 
been acknowledged by the nawab, on account of elephants 
and army clothing supplied by Fraser. In order to induce 
the Company's government to support his claim, he 
offered them this sum in liquidation of a debt due from him 
to the Company, for which a suit had been filed against 
him. On his offer being made this suit was suspended, 
and the Board ordered the Resident at Lucknow to recover 
this sum from the sarkar as well as another sum due on a 
bond of the nawab to one Mr. Pipon, which also Fraser 
assigned to the Company. These two bonds totalled Rs. 
1,89,305. A letter from Major Palmer says that while 
Hastings was at Chunar in November 1781, he accepted 
these bonds from Fraser, and gave him the Company's 
bonds in exchange of the value of Rs. 1,95,746-6-6, the 
extra being on account of certain sums due to Fraser from 
the Company. 

A similar offer was again made by Fraser in January 
1784 on behalf of one Mr. Burgh, a debtor to the Company, 
and whose trustee Fraser was. This offer was rejected, 
but on the recommendation of Mr. Wheler it was resolved 
that the Board would exert its influence in procuring the 
payment of this bond, and would therefore include the 
amount in the estimate of the Company's claims on the 
Oudh sarkar. 1 

Item (k) was a claim by a banker named Gopal Das 
who had in June 1783 lent certain sums of money to the 
Company. In 1785 the Oudh sarkar paid an instalment of 
the Company's subsidy in bonds, which the Company hand- 
ed over to Gopal Das in part liquidation of its debt of 
June 1783. Gopal Das said that he had lent to the Com- 
pany in terms of Fyzabad rupees, whereas the nawab's 
bonds were in terms of lyucknow rupees, that he therefore 
lost at the rate of Rs. 5-9-3%, the total loss being Rs. 
71,910-2-7. He further said that although in May 1784 

1 BJ9.C. 15 Deo. 1786 Seoy.'s report on Eraser's Bondi. 


Hastings had declared the two currencies to be equal m 
value, yet, since his loan had been given before that declara- 
tion, he should be repaid at the old rate. On 12 May 1785 
the Board resolved that Gopal Das's claim was just, and 
that the nawab should bear the loss. 3 On being informed 
of this resolution, the nawab strongly objected 3 on these 
grounds, firstly, that the amount of silver in the 1785 
Lucknow rupee was more than in the Fyzabad rupee, hence 
whatever might have been the case in 1783, in 1785 Gopal 
Das was getting more than he had given. In the second 
place, the nawab argued that he was the Company's debtor 
and paid to them their dues; if the Cpmpany chose to 
transfer those sums to somebody else, how should he be held 
responsible for any losses in exchange? The governor-general 
and the Council curiously enough insisted that the difference 
was justly due from the Oudh sarkar and instructed Harper 
to convince the nawab accordingly. But the nawab naturally 
refused to be convinced, and although he consented to include 
this sum in the settlement for IIQSF., he did so only under 
protest. 4 In March 1786 the nawab lodged a formal protest 
against it under his seal with the Resident. 6 The Board order- 
ed further inquiry into the matter, and Bristow, who was 
Resident at the time when the loan was contracted and 
when the two currencies were declared to be at par, was 
asked to report on it/' He reported on 26 April 1786, 7 
quoting a letter of Hastings to the Board d/- 25 May 1784, 
and stated that Shujauddaula had engaged to pay Ids dues 
in Fyzabad siccas; that Asafuddaula having transferred his 
capital to Lucknow, had struck anew coin which had origin- 
ally contained less silver than the Fyzabad siccas. There- 
fore, while he paid the subsidy in Lucknow siccas, he paid 
'batta' (exchange) @ Rs. 5-9-3%. But since 1781 the I^ucknow 
siccas contained one rati more silver than the Fyzabad 
siccas, yet the batta had been uniformly charged and 
paid. Hence in May 1784 Hastings declared that in future 

2 B.S.C. 12 May 1785 Larkins to GG & Council 10 May. 

3 B.S.C. 24 August 1785 NW to Wombwell rood. 22 June 1785. 

4 B.S.C. 8 Nov. 1785 Harper to GG 26 Oct. 

5 B.S.C. 22 March 1786. 

6 B.S.C. 5 April 1786. 

7 B.S.C. 22 May 1786. 


Ho batta would be charged. So that if the nawab ^ 
any due of the Company in 1785, he could do so in either 
currency, and no batta should be charged. As to Gopal 
Das's claim, Bristow added, that his loan had been made 
in Ivucknow siccas, and therefore he was actually getting 
much more than he had given, and that his claim was 
by no means tenable. If the Board decided to grant him 
the batta, it should be considered as a voluntary gift, and 
the Company should pay it. In spite of this report, how- 
ever, the accountant-general includes this item in his sug- 
gestions about the settlement for H94F. 8 and it appears as 
still due in the abstract for ngsF. drawn up in October I786. 9 
As to (i), it probably refers to the interest on the debts 
from those bankers for whose loans the Company had stood 


The following claims were stated as not included in Harper's 
account : 

Rs. as. p. 

Of the current dues : 

2 risalas of cavalry @ Rs. 1,08,000 p. a. . . 2,16,000 

Pay of the civil and military servants 

@ Rs. 9,892 p. m. . . . . . . 1,18,704 

Of the arrears : 

2 risalas of cavalry to the end of 1192F. . . 3,02,860 7 8 

Expenses of the Foreign Rangers . . 35,608 9 

Arrears of salaries to the Company's servants 46,460 

Balance due at the end of 1192 exclusive of 

Rs. 11,60,000 for the Fathgarh brigade which 

Harper had included . . . . 1,80,725 12 8 

TOTAL . . 8,97,358 13 4 

It overlooks, however, that the last item includes the 
claims of several military officers of which Rs. 1,29,456 had 
been included by Harper. Thus this sum is counted twice 
in this statement. The accountant-general further stated 
that a bill given by the sarkar on Surat for Rs. 5 lakh 
had not been fully discharged and a balance of Rs. 4,57,870 

8 B.S.C. 24 July 1786 Larkina to GO 7 July. 

9 B.S.C. 25 Oct. 1786. 


remained due on account of it. Thus the total dues accord- 
ing to the accountant-general for 1193 should have been 

Rs. aa. p. 

As per Harper's account . . . . 74,28,944 

Not included by Harper . . . . 8,97,358 13 4 

Unpaid part of a bill . . . . 4,57,870 

TOTAL . . 87,84,172 13 4 

By Harper's settlement the sarkar had 

agreed to pay . . . . . . 66,18,704 

The total unprovided for being . . 21,65,468 13 4 


Additions to the Company's claims on Oudh during 1193 F. : 

Rs. as. p. 

On account of Eraser's bonds and interests, 
over and above 1,70,000 included in Harper's 
account . . . . . . 13,819 11 11 

On a/c sundry contingent bills .. .. 36,303 13 4 

unpaid part of a bill . . . . 4,57,870 

interest paid to the shroffs over and 

above 4 lakh in Harper's account .. 11,714 5 6 

The reduction allowed on account of the Fathgarh 
brigade was for 8 months @ Rs. 1,45,000 p. m., i.e., 
Rs. 11,60,000 


Private claims on the nawab : 

Rs. as 

Richard Chicele Plowden's claim 54,810 14 

Capt. Peter Murray's 16,170 

Mai. Nichol's 11,833 

Mai. Scott's 6,471 

Mai. L. Grant's 9,000 

Maj. Buchanan's 3,000 

Lieut. Grand's 350 

TOTAL 1,01,634 14 9 

APPENDIX I R 8 . as. p. 

Resident @ Rs. 2,988 p. m. . . . . 35,856 

Lt.-Col. Martine 7 mo. @ 1488 . . 10,416 

4 @ 1440 .. 5,760 

1 @ 1344 .. 1,344.. 17,520 

Carried over .. 53,376 


Us. as. p. 

Brought forward . . 53,376 

Mr. Elaine, sur- 
geon 7 months 696 .. 4,872 

4 @ 680 .. 2,720 

1 @ 648 .. 648.. 8,240 

Mr. Bruce, surgeon, same as Blaine . . 8,240 

Johnatone, asstt. to 

Resident @ 512 p. m. . . 6,144 

The O. C. at Lucknow 

7 months 1,566 .. 10,962 

4 @ 1,530 .. 6,120 

1 @ 1,458 . . 1,458 . . 18,540 

TOTAL .. 94,540 

This shows that further reductions in the salaries, except 
of the Resident were made. 


The accepted arrears on i March 1787 consisted of : 

Rs. as. p. 

Due to the troops of the Company . . 6,20,944 8 10 
,, ,, civil and military servants at 

Lucknow . . 2,84,861 

,, Sa'adatAli .. .. 1,00,000 

on account Rohilla stipends . . 20,526 
,, on account advanced to the Prince by 
the Resident at Benares, which the 

ministers subsequently agreed to pay . . 2,04,173 7 4 

TOTAL . . 12,30,505 2 


A. Original Material 

English : 

(i) India Office Records : (a) Political and Secret Proceedings 
of the Bengal Council ; (b) Bengal Despatches ; and 
(c) Bengal Letters for the period ; (d) Bengal Secret Letters 
Vol. I; (e) Home Miscellaneous Series Vols. 235-7, 577-83, 
447-8; (/) Factory Records (Persia) Vol. 22; (g) Fisher 
Papers for the criticism of Wellesley's Oudh transactions. 

(ii) At' the British Museum (London): Wellesley Mss. especially 
Nos. 13,411-66; 13,473-86; 13,501-18; 13,522-32; 13,794- 
802 and 37,284. 

(iii) A History of the Reigning Family of Oudh by Sir W. H. 

Persian : 

(i) At the British Museum : (a) Inam Ali, Ausaf-ul-Asaf (Or. 
Ms. 1707); (b) Insha Allah, Syed, Lataif-us-Sa'adat(Or. Ms. 
2021) ; (c) Intikhab-i-Akhbar-i-Darbar-i-Nawab-Wazir-ul- 
Mumalik-Asafuddaula-Bahadur (Addl.Ms. 16, 72i);(<f)Ka- 
maluddin Haidar, Tarikh-i-Sawanishat-i-Salatin-i-Awadh 
(Or. Ms. 1821 and 1822); (e) Martine, Gen. Claude, Persian 
Correspondence (Addl. Ms. 16,847); (/) Rai Ratan Chand, 
Sultan-ut-Twarikh (Or. Ms. 1876). 

(ii) At the Royal Asiatic Society (London) : Intikhab-i-Akhbar- 

(i) (c) and (ii) are journals of daily occurrences at Asafuddau- 
la's darbar during 1794-5 and 1795-6, respectively. They 
are very sketchy, but throw interesting sidelights on the 
prominent personalities of the time. 


Aitchison, C.U., Treaties and Sanads, etc., Vol. I (1930). 
Forrest, (Sir) G.W., Selections from State papers of the 
Governor General of India, Warren Hastings, 2 Vols. (1910). 
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Gleig, G. R., Memoirs of Warren Hastings, 3 Vols. (1841). 


Martin, M., Wdlesley : Despatches, Minutes and Correspon- 
dence, 5 Vols. Ed. by (1836). 

Parliamentary Papers, Vol. 7 (1806). 

Pearce, R. R., Memoirs and Correspondence of Wellesley, 
3 Vols. (1846). 

Ross, C., Cornwallis Correspondence, Ed. by, 3 Vols. (1859). 

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of John, Lord Teignmouth, 2 Vols. (1843). 


Abu Talib, Tafzih-ul-Ghafilin, Eng. Tr. by W. Hoey (1885). 

Asiatic annual Register, 1800-11. 

Calcutta Review Vols. I, III, XXVI, XXXV, XLVI, XLVIII. 

Faiz-Bakhsh, Tafikh-i-Farahbakhsh, Eng. Tr. by W. Hoey. 

Ghulam Ali, Mir : Imad-us-Sa'adat. Lithographed in 
Lucknow (1897), (Persian). 

Ghulam Hussain, Mir ; Siyar-ul-Mutakhirin. 

Heber, R., Journal Vol. I. Ch. XII-XIX (1828). 

Hamilton, C., Rohilla Afghans (1787). 
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Rennell, Maj. J., Map of Hindustan. 

Valentia, Viscount, Travels Vol. I (1809). 

There is a large number of tracts and pamphlets on Oudh 
published particularly after its annexation by Dalhousie in 
1856, to be found in the British Museum and the India Office 

JB. Secondary Works 

Aspinall, A., Cornwallis in Bengal (1931). 

Asiatic Society of Bengal : Journal 1878-9, article on the 
Bangash Nawabs of Farrukhabad by Wm. Irvine. 

Bennett, W, C , Gazetteer of the Province of Oudh 3 Vols. 

Butter, Dr., Outlines of the Topography and the Statistics of 
the Southern Districts of Oudh (1867). 

Bulaqi Das, Guldasta-i-Awadh (Urdu). 
Cambridge History of India, Vol. V, Ed. H. H. Dodwell. 

Carnegy, P., Notes on the Races and Tribes Inhabiting Oudh. 

Davies, C. C., Warren Hastings and Oudh (1940). 

Elliot, C. A., The Chronicles of Oonao (1862). 

Irwin, H. C., Garden of India (1880). 

Kamaluddin Haidar, Tawarikh-i-Awadh, 3 Vols. (Lucknow 
Litho.) (Urdu). 


Kaye, J. W., Life of Malcolm (1856). 

Montgomery, Sir R. : Statistical Report of the District of 
Cawnpore (1848). 
(^loreland, W. H., From Akbar to Aurangzeb (1923). 

Mill, J., History of India, Vols. IV, V & VI (1858). 

Najmul Ghani Rampuri, Twarikh-i-Awadh II Ed. (Urdu). 

Neville, Lucknow Gazetteer (1904). 
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Shiva Prasad, Bostan-i-Awadh (I/ucknow Litho.), (Persian)